BASRA - Iraq is considering a proposal from U.S. oil services company Halliburton to buy Exxon Mobil's stake in the southern West Qurna 1 oilfield, a senior Basra Oil Co. (BOC) official told a press conference on Wednesday.
"Halliburton submitted a proposal seeking the possibility to buy Exxon's stake in West Qurna 1," said Hassan Mohammed, deputy BOC manager in charge of oilfields and licensing rounds affairs.
Halliburton was not immediately available to comment.
Mohammed added, however, the government's preferred option was for BOC itself to buy Exxon's stake in the field.
Iraq said in April that Exxon was seeking to sell its 32.7% stake in West Qurna 1, and that the oil ministry had started discussions over a possible deal.
Separately, Iraq will start work to maintain and upgrade its key undersea oil exports pipelines and its two onshore ports that will help boost export capacity to six million barrels per day (bpd) in 2025 from 3.2 million bpd currently, Ahmed Fadhil, deputy BOC manager in charge of oil exports facilities upgrading operations told Reuters.
Fadhil said bids had been completed to invite foreign services companies to compete to build two undersea 48-inch oil exports pipelines to replace existing outdated lines.
Construction work to build the two lines to ship crude oil to the Basra offshore terminal is expected to start in the second quarter of 2022 and the new undersea lines are expected to be operational in mid 2024, said Fadhil.
A third undersea pipeline is under construction currently and is expected to be completed in mid 2023. The three export lines have a combined capacity to export three million bpd.
Iraq has also awarded a deal to a Russian company to assess damages and start repair works on another 42-inch undersea export pipe which transport crude oil to its Khor al-Amaya terminal, one of its two southern offshore oil export terminals, said Fadhil, without naming the company.
Loading operations have been halted at Khor al-Amaya since 2017 when the pipeline suffered ruptures and leakages, and had to be shut.
Maintenance operations are expected to be completed to bring back crude loading operations at Khor al-Amaya by the end of 2022, with initial capacity to pump 400,000 bpd, said Fadhil.
(Reporting by Aref Mohammed in Basra Writing by Ahmed Rasheed Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +964-7901-947-131; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))