West Qurna 1 Oil Output to Rise 10 % in April

Source: Reuters 3/3/2011, Location: Middle East

U.S. oil major ExxonMobil is expected to raise production at Iraq's West Qurna Phase One oilfield by 10 percent over the agreed baseline this month or in early April, an Iraqi oil official said.

"God willing, during this month or start of April," Abdul-Mahdy al-Ameedi, head of the Oil Ministry's licensing and contracting office, told Reuters, when asked when Exxon would hit its initial production target in West Qurna. That would qualify Exxon and its partners to start recovering investment costs, Ameedi said.

ExxonMobil and partner Royal Dutch Shell won a contract to develop the 8.7-billion-barrel West Qurna Phase One field. The group aims to boost output to 2.825 million bpd after setting baseline production at 244,000 bpd.

An oil source said that Exxon has already managed to hit its initial output target in West Qurna by boosting production to more than 268,000 bpd. The increase is being examined by the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

Higher production rates must be sustained for 30 days before the firms are able to recover development costs.

The Exxon-Shell 20-year contract is one of a series that Iraq has signed with international oil companies to develop its vast reserves in a bid to boost production capacity to 12 million bpd from around 2.7 million bpd currently.


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