Amman:  The Iraqi cabinet has ratified the launch of a fourth state oil company responsible for overseeing development in recently auctioned fields in the centre of the country, a government statement said yesterday.

Midland Oil will join the South, North and Missan oil companies as the latest state-owned organisation tasked with boosting the country's crude oil production.

The government statement said that the new company will be set up with a capital of 100 billion Iraqi dinars (Dh330 million).

The oil ministry has sought an approval from the cabinet after oil minister Hussain Al Shahristani decided to set up the company in February this year.

The new company, MOC, will be tasked with managing the East Baghdad oil field which was not awarded in the country's second licensing auction held in December last year.

MOC will also manage the Badra oil field in southeast of Baghdad. The field was awarded to a consortium led by Russia's Gazprom at the second bidding round in December. Previously Midland Oil existed under the rule of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussain, but was amalgamated with North Oil in late 1980s.

Iraq, which sits on the world's third largest oil reserves, concluded late last year and early this year, that 10 major oil deals with international oil companies that are expected to quadruple the country's current crude oil production of 2.4 million barrels a day in six to seven years.

Revenues from oil sales provide for more than 90 per cent of government expenditure.