MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti) - LUKoil, Russia’s largest privately owned oil company, has opted not to acquire US ExxonMobil’s 60-percent stake in the West Qurna-1 oil field in southern Iraq, the head of LUKoil Overseas said on Monday.
West Qurna-1's oil reserves are estimated at 8.7 billion barrels. ExxonMobil said it was giving up its stake in the project after a dispute with the Iraqi government over projects in the autonomous Kurdistan region.
“We’ve analyzed all the risks and come to the conclusion that since we are already running the West Qurna-2 project effectively without a partner, it would be a great risk for us to take on another project, which is no less ambitious than the West Qurna-2,” LUKoil Overseas chief Andrei Kuzyaev said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 TV.
“This was the main reason, the project remains attractive in terms of investment,” he added.
In 2009, a consortium comprising LUKoil and Norway's Statoil won a tender to develop West Qurna-2, one of the world's largest oil fields with recoverable reserves estimated at 12.9 billion barrels of oil.
The project's core shareholders now include LUKoil with 75 percent and Iraq's state-owned North Oil Company with 25 percent. Statoil sold its 18.75 percent stake to LUKoil and left the project earlier this year.
Before the West Qurna-2 tender results were announced, LUKoil CEO Vagit Alekperov said it would be economically efficient to integrate both oil fields within a single infrastructure.