The foreign exploration unit of the state-run Turkish Petroleum International Company has been awarded a $318m contract to drill 45 wells in Iraq’s giant Rumaila oilfield, a senior Iraqi oil official said.

The war-torn country has struck a series of development contracts with global oil majors in an attempt to rebuild the economy.

British oil major BP and its Chinese counterpart CNPC signed a 20-year development contract last year for Rumaila, which has an estimated 17 billion barrels of crude reserves.

In a separate deal, Iraq has invited ten firms to bid for a contract to drill 56 additional wells at Rumaila, including TPIC, Halliburton and Weatherford International.

Iraq’s state-owned South Oil Company head Dhiya Jaafar told Reuters that it is still evaluating the submitted bids for the tender.

The Rumaila deal is one of ten deals struck in 2009 in a bid to raise oil production capacity to 12 million bpd.