Iraq yesterday accused its Gulf War foe Kuwait of excessive extraction of oil from a joint border oilfield, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) said. "Kuwait has exploited unilaterally and excessively Al Ratka joint border oilfield in violation of international norms that regulate exploitation of border oilfields," INA quoted a letter from Foreign Minister Naji Sabri to Arab League's Secretary General Amr Moussa as saying.

"Iraq reserves legitimate right to compensations for damage inflicted on it by this illegitimate practice by Kuwait," Sabri said.

Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, citing a dispute over border oilfields and oil policy differences. A U.S.-led alliance ejected Iraqi troops from Kuwait in February 1991.

Sabri said after demarcation of borders with Kuwait in 1993, Kuwait invited American and British oil firms to sign long-term contracts to exploit oilfields of south Rumaila and Zubair.

"Rumaila stretches to al-Ratka and Zubair stretches to Safwan," he said, adding drilling by U.S. firms enabled Kuwait to raise its output from Ratka field four times that of 1990.

"Al Ratka oil production reached 45,000 barrels per day (bpd), whereas production of Safwan oil field rose to 33,000 bpd," he said. "As a result...oil immigrated from the Iraqi side to the Kuwaiti side which Iraqi studies estimate at more than 50 million barrels."

Sabri requested the Arab League secretary general to form an ad hoc committee to study Iraq's demand. Baghdad has previously accused Kuwait of stealing Iraqi oil from a border field, a charge the Gulf emirate denied.