ExxonMobil to Boost Output at Iraq West Qurna-1 by Mid 2013

U.S. energy giant Exxon Mobil Corp. and its partners are planning to increase crude oil production from West Qurna-1 oil field in southern Iraq to 530,000 barrels a day by July, from 495,000 barrels a day now, a senior Iraqi oil official said Monday.

Mahdi Abdul Razzaq al-Maliki, head of the field's joint management committee, said the consortium, which also includes Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Iraq, is planning to raise output from West Qurna-1 to 600,000 barrels a day by the end of 2013.

"According to this year's plan which has been approved by the oil ministry, the consortium will invest some $1.65 billion compared with $1 billion invested last year," Mr. al-Maliki told Dow Jones Newswires.

Iraq, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is targeting a total output of 4.5 million barrels a day next year from 3.3 million barrels a day now, the Iraqi prime minister's top energy advisor, Thamir Ghadhban, said.

New oil fields, being developed by some of the world's largest oil companies will come on stream this year such as Majnoon, which is being developed by Shell, West Qurna-2 being developed by OAO Lukoil Holdings and Garraf oil field, which is being upgraded by a consortium led by Malaysia's Petronas and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., or Japex.

Exxon is in a row with the Iraqi government over deals it signed with the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq. The Baghdad government says that Exxon should choose between its southern oil field and its deal in the north. Baghdad and Kurdistan are at logger heads over who should control oil resources in the Kurdish region.


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