MOSCOW Dec 5 Russia's Lukoil,
identified by Baghdad as a favoured investor in West Qurna-1, a
major oil project abandoned by Exxon, has made no commitment so
far, a company official said on Wednesday, the tentative
deadline date for bids.
Exxon Mobil Corp has approached all likely buyers
for the project and invited bids by Dec. 5, two sources said
"We have not announced our interest or wish to invest or
anything," Lukoil Overseas chief Andrei Kuzyayev told an Energy
Intelligence conference in Moscow, although he declined to
comment directly on the bidding process.
"For us Qurna-1 is a neighbouring project. We are as
interested as everyone else in the reasons why Exxon left," he
A senior Iraqi oil ministry source said last month the Iraqi
government would favour a joint bid by Lukoil and China National
Petroleum Corp (CNPC) if they decided to pursue the project.
Lukoil, Russia's second-largest crude producer, is already
developing West Qurna-2.
Exxon was frustrated by tough terms set by the Baghdad
government for West Qurna-1, which weighed on the profitability
of the project, and riled the Iraqi central government by
signing deals with the autonomous Kurdistan regional government.
"No one doubts that Qurna is an elephant," Kuzyayev said.
He also said Lukoil was working to find a partner to replace
Statoil in West Qurna-2 but declined to name any
"We are looking for partners for various regions," Kuzyayev
said. "First of all it's for risk management and gaining
knowledge but also to expand the market for such a huge amount
of oil, including in Asia."