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Iraq signs contract with Swiss firm Satarem for $6 billion oil refinery in country's south

Iraq's prime minister says his country has signed a $6 billion contract with Swiss company Satarem to build and run an oil refinery in southern Iraq.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office announced the deal on his official website in a statement dated Thursday.

The project calls for Satarem to construct and operate a 150,000 barrel-per-day refinery in the southern province of Maysan, which borders Iran.

Iraq sits atop the world's fourth largest proven reserves of conventional crude, with about 143.1 billion barrels, and oil revenues make up 95 percent of the country's budget. It lacks refining capacity to meet local demand for fuel.