South Korea asked Iraq for support in local firms' bids for various reconstruction projects in the Middle East nation, the energy ministry here said Tuesday, in a move to forge deeper economic ties with the war-torn country.
Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick met with Hussein al-Shahristani, the Iraqi deputy prime minister of Energy, in Seoul earlier in the day and requested support for local firms' bidding on a handful of reconstruction projects.
Yoon said South Korean firms are interested in participating in several energy development plans in the Middle East country, including a US$4 billion oil project in the southern city of Az Zubayr.
The minister of trade, industry and energy also called for speeding up the talks between Korea National Oil Corp. and Iraq's state-run Oil Marketing Company concerning storage of Iraqi crude in Seoul.
Iraq, which holds the world's fifth-largest oil reserves, saw its average daily production of crude reach 3 million barrels last year, recovering to the level observed during the pre-war period, industry data showed.
The Middle East country also plans to invest some $504.3 billion to foster its energy industry by 2030. Its economy is estimated to jump 14.7 percent on-year in 2013.