Iraq is reportedly planning to purchase ExxonMobil’s stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field via state-owned firm Basra Oil Co (BOC).
Iraq Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar was quoted by Reuters as saying that the ministry is considering BOC ‘taking ownership of the Exxon stake in West Qurna 1 and leading the project, as happened with Majnoon’.
The move is a part of the country’s efforts to boost gas production.
As part of this plan, Iraq is also planning to invest $3bn in BOC to boost production by 40% to reach 1.4 billion cubic feet (bcf) a day over the next five years.
Last month, reports emerged that ExxonMobil was looking to sell its 32.7% stake in the West Qurna-1 oil field to reduce its debt.
At that time, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said that it is in talks with undisclosed US companies to find potential buyers for ExxonMobil’s stake in the oil field.
With a 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity, the ExxonMobil-operated West Qurna-1 field is claimed to be the largest of its kind in the world with estimated recoverable reserves of more than 20 billion barrels.
Concurrently, at a news conference Jabbar said that the Mansuriya gas field near the Iranian border is estimated to have a development cost of $2.1bn.
To develop the Mansuriya gas field, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) was awarded a contract in April.
Under the 25-year contract, Sinopec will hold a 49% stake and Iraq’s state-run Midland Oil Comopany will hold 51%.
Additionally, Jabbar noted that talks ‘are moving very slowly’ with foreign companies to develop Iraq’s western Akkas gas field.
Iraqi oil officials close to the talks was reported by Reuters as saying that Chevron and France-based Total among the firms interested in the Akkas field development.