Angola has signed a lucrative but potentially dangerous oil deal with war-torn Iraq. The state-owned oil company, Sonangol, signed the deals which will see it take over oil fields in Qayara and Najmah, in the restive Nineveh province, described as one of the most dangerous regions in Iraq.
Reports also say that Sonagol is one of several oil companies which were awarded deals as part of Iraq's second bidding round for oil contracts, held earlier last month. The deals now await Iraqi cabinet's approval before it can be finalized.
But worries of violence are a cause for serious concern for the Angolans due to frequent insurgencies in the area with Sunni Islamic militants and al-Qaeda activist both active there.
Observers say the level of unbearable insecurity in the region tends to discourage a number of Western based companies from going to Iraq. In Sierra Leone, concerns have recently been raised that its youth have been flocking into the Middle Eastern nation in search of unavailable job back home.
According to the BBC, the Angolan state-owned oil company intends to invest $2bn in Qayara. It also announced that several firms have shown interest in forging joint exploration partnerships with it.
"There are at least five companies that have approached us and showed an interest to work with us to invest. We are still holding talks with them. The companies are European and American," the BBC quoted Paulino Jeronimo, exploration manager at Sonangol.
The southern African country is the second largest producer of crude oil in Africa after Nigeria.