• The Associated Press

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Trading house Mitsubishi Corp. has agreed to buy up to 6 million barrels of crude oil from Iraq over a five-month period, an official said Monday.

Mitsubishi’s agreement with the State Oil Marketing Organization allows the Japanese company to import around 40,000 barrels of Basra Light crude oil a day beginning in August, company spokesman Yusuke Uchimura said.

He refused to disclose the terms of the contract, which he said were still under negotiation.

Mitsubishi’s move follows similar deals recently struck by international oil majors.

Last week, European firms BP PLC and Royal Dutch/Shell each agreed on a 10 million-barrel deal with Iraq, each expecting a shipment of 2 million barrels of Basra Light crude per month between August and December.

SOMO, the state-run monopoly that controls Iraq’s crude exports, also agreed to sell 6 million barrels under shorter spot contracts to ChevronTexaco, Petrobras of Brazil and Switzerland’s Vitol. The three companies have agreed to ship 2 million barrels each by the end of July.

Iraq has the world’s second-largest confirmed oil reserves, which have been held up as its biggest hope of generating steady income to rebuild its war-torn industries and infrastructure.