At least two firms are in serious negotiations to take stakes in the ExxonMobil-led 2.825mn b/d West Qurna-1 field development project, MEES learns.

A Reuters report from Beijing that CNPC was close to a deal could not be confirmed by MEES press time. But the Chinese state oil behemoth was in talks earlier in the year and is known to be keen to expand its already dominant presence in Iraq’s upstream. CNPC leads the 120,000 b/d Ahdab project. It holds a 27.5% operator stake in Misan province’s 535,000 b/d Halfaya project and is junior partner with 37% in the giant BP-led Rumaila project. Rumaila, currently contracted to reach plateau production of 2.85mn b/d, is in advanced talks to revise its plateau down to 2.1mn b/d (MEES, 26 July). (CONTINUED - 1183 WORDS)