* Lukoil looking to expand abroad
* West Qurna-2 to boost Lukoil's foreign oil production
* Looking at Mexico, Iran for new assets
By Olesya Astakhova
MOSCOW, Jan 28 Lukoil, Russia's No.2
oil producer, expects to reach production of 400,000 barrels per
day (bpd) at its Iraqi West Qurna-2 field this autumn, with
initial output of 120,000 bpd seen in April-May, CEO Vagit
Alekperov said on Tuesday.
Lukoil, which as a private firm is struggling to access new
big deposits in Russia, has been actively expanding abroad. Its
overseas operations now account for around 6 percent of its oil
output of 1.8 million bpd.
The launch of West Qurna-2, the world's second-largest
undeveloped field with recoverable reserves estimated at around
14 billion barrels, will allow Lukoil to more than double its
overseas output. Output will start in late March or early April.
"We expect to reach (production) levels of 120,000 bpd in
April-May, reaching 400,000 bpd late in autumn," Alekperov, who
is also the largest individual shareholder in Lukoil, told
West Qurna-2, where Lukoil holds a 75-percent stake, is one
of several big Iraqi oil fields set to boost its economy after a
decade-long U.S. intervention in the country. The field's output
is expected to peak at 1.2 million bpd, but Alekperov did not
LOOKING FOR NEW ASSETS
The bulk of Lukoil's foreign oil output currently comes from
ex-Soviet Kazakhstan but the company is widening its search as
it seeks to raise the share of overseas hydrocarbon production
to 17 percent in the next six years.
Last week, Lukoil signed a cooperation agreement with
Mexican state-run firm Pemex, positioning itself for an opening
up of the country's energy sector to foreign companies sought by
President Enrique Peno Nieto.
Alekperov said both companies would discuss potential joint
projects this autumn, looking both at onshore and offshore
He reiterated that Lukoil may consider returning to Iran
after U.S.-led sanctions are lifted. Last year, Iran and six
world powers reached a deal to curb Tehran's nuclear programme
in exchange for gradual sanctions relief.
As a company with some 400 gas stations in the United
States, Lukoil pulled out of an exploration work at Iran's
Anaran block of fields and took a charge in its 2009 accounts
related to the sanctions.
Iranian oil exports are expected to rise gradually once
sanctions are lifted, potentially pressuring global oil prices
unless other OPEC members show production restraint.
Alekperov said that Lukoil plans to keep its investment
programme unchanged this year at around $20 billion, as it
continues to upgrade refineries and invest in high-cost projects
such as Caspian Sea fields.