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MOSCOW, August 9 (Itar-Tass) - Russian oil industry giant LUKOIL did not break up talks with potential partners in the West Qurna 2 oilfields project in Iraq and this fully applies to Chinese companies, a source close to the negotiations told Itar-Tass.
Reuters said earlier in the day that “China's biggest energy firm PetroChina will join Exxon Mobil in developing Iraq's giant West Qurna oilfield and is in talks with Lukoil to buy into a second project at the field.”
“China is already the top foreign player in Iraq's southern oilfields and a deal at West Qurna would boost its dominance and could make PetroChina the biggest single foreign investor,” the report said.
After the pullout of the Norwegian corporation Statoil from the project in 2012, LUKOIL has been implementing it independently and looking for a partner at the same time so as to be able to guarantee the sales of oil, which is the main criterion for the selection of partners, the source said.
LUKOIL is ready to offer 24% to a partner in its 75% stake in West Qurna 2, he said.
The scope of possible partners includes investors from South Korea, Malaysia, and other Asia/Pacific countries who are capable of accepting new volumes of oil.
West Qurna 2 oilfield has the recoverable reserves of around 14 billion barrels. It is located 65 kilometers to the northwest of Basra.
A development agreement slated for twenty years and a possibility of extension for another five years was signed in January 2010. The phase of active development that envisions the drilling of operation wells and the construction of an oil treatment unit began in April 2012.
The start of industrial production of the crude is scheduled for October-December 2013.