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Iraq to boost production capacity of West Qurna 1 by 40% in five years: ministry


ExxonMobil operated field has output capacity of 500,000 b/d

Current oil production is 380,000 b/d

Iraq in talks with ExxonMobil to buy its 32.7% stake in field

Iraq plans to boost the production capacity of West Qurna 1 by 40% to more than 700,000 b/d over the next five years at a time when operator ExxonMobil seeks to exit one of the world's largest oil fields with expected recoverable reserves of over 20 billion barrels.

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Iraq's state-run Basrah Oil Co. signed a contract with ExxonMobil and Schlumberger to boost the field's production capacity by 200,000 b/d by drilling 96 wells, the oil ministry said in a statement June 17.

Currently West Qurna 1 is producing 380,000 b/d out of a production capacity exceeding 500,000 b/d, Karim Hattab, a deputy oil minister said in the statement. The field also produces around 150 MMcf/d of associated gas, he added.

Iraq is in talks with ExxonMobil to take over its 32.7% stake in West Qurna 1, the country's oil minister Ihsan Ismaael said May 3.

Ismaael had previously said Iraq was in talks with potential unnamed US energy companies to take over ExxonMobil's stake. Other partners in West Qurna 1, where ExxonMobil is the main operator, are PetroChina (32.7%), Japan's Itochu (19.6%), Indonesia's Pertamina (10%) and Iraq's Oil Exploration Co. (5%).

Iraq awarded the contract to develop West Qurna 1 to ExxonMobil, Shell and Oil Exploration Co. in 2010. In 2018, Shell sold its 19.6% stake to Itochu and exited the giant Majnoon oil field.

ExxonMobil's exit from the southern West Qurna 1 field may be similar to Shell's 2018 divestment of its stake in Majnoon, whose operations are now managed by Basrah Oil Co., the minister said May 3.