Iraq\'s cabinet approved a $468.5 million (Dh1.72 billion) preliminary contract with Saipem SpA, Europe\'s largest oilfield-services provider, to develop export facilities in the country\'s south, State Minister Ali Al Dabbagh said. The project\'s duration will be two years, Al Dabbagh said in a press statement on Wednesday. Saipem, controlled by Italy\'s ENI SpA, was chosen over a unit of Australia\'s Leighton Holdings, which bid $503.1 million. Iraq plans to modernise terminals at the port of Basra and other southern shipping facilities to spur the economy and improve the country\'s capacity to export oil, its main source of revenue. The government needs to boost energy shipments to pay for reconstruction after decades of conflict, economic sanctions and under-investment.