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Lukoil which develops Iraq's West Qurna phase-2 oil field expects to begin production in 2013.

Production had been planned for late-2012 but according to comments from Vagit Alekperov, chief executive officer of Lukoil: "I think we will get the first oil in 2013," reported Itar-Tass news agency.

"Production will amount to 95 million tonnes of oil a year (1.9mn bpd), a stable production level for more than 10 years," added Alekperov.

Lukoil and its joint venture partner, Statoil, plan to invest US$4.5 billion in the first phase of development of the 12.9 billion-barrel field with overall investments will exceed US$30 billion, said Alekperov.

Lukoil holds a 56.25 per cent operator stake in the contract, while Statoil takes a 18.75 per cent stake and two state-owned companies, South Oil Company and North Oil Company share the remaining 25 per cent.

Lukoil had set a March deadline for bidding firms to submit commercial proposals for early production facilities.

Four tenders were issued for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deals covering oil gathering systems, processing facilities and water supply system, along with an oil export pipeline, storage facilities, a power station and associated gas processing plant, reported MEED.

Saipem, Petrofac, Technip and JGC were among the firms invited to submit technical bids for the associated gas process plant and power station.