BAGHDAD, May 3 (Reuters) - Iraq is considering buying ExxonMobil's (XOM.N) stake in the southern West Qurna 1 oilfield through state-owned Basra Oil Co (BOC), the country's oil minister said on Monday.
The oil ministry is discussing BOC "taking ownership of the Exxon stake in West Qurna 1 and leading the project, as happened with Majnoon," Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told a news conference, referring to the huge Majnoon oilfield in Iraq's south.
Iraq said last month that ExxonMobil was seeking to sell its 32.7% stake in the West Qurna 1 field, and that the oil ministry had started discussions with U.S. oil companies over a possible purchase. read more
ExxonMobil did not respond to a request for comment.
Abdul Jabbar also said at the news conference that the development of Iraq's Mansuriya gas field near the Iranian border is expected to cost $2.1 billion.
He said talks with some foreign companies to develop Iraq's western Akkas gas field near the borders with Syria "are moving very slowly", without elaborating.
Abdul Jabbar added that he does not expect oil prices to drop below $65 a barrel and that lower oil prices should not be a concern after OPEC+ eases production cuts from May. read more
As a part of its drive to boost gas production, Iraq plans to invest $3 billion in Basra Gas Co over the next five years to increase its production capacity by 40% to 1.4 billion cubic feet (bcf) a day, said Abdul Jabbar.
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