Russia's LUKoil said on Tuesday that Iraq has not asked it to replace Exxon Mobil at the West Qurna-1 oilfield.
Nefte Compass said last week that Iraq was considering replacing Exxon with either Russia's LUKoil and Gazprom Neft, but LUKoil Vice President Leonid Fedun (pictured) told Reuters:
"No one has offered us West Qurna-1 ... We respect Exxon and the Iraqi government a lot. But we are simply lacking the financial resources to take on such large projects at the moment."
LUKoil, Russia's second-largest crude producer, already holds a 75 percent stake in the adjoining West Qurna-2, after buying out junior partner Statoil in June.
Chief Executive Vagit Alekperov said LUKoil was in no rush to find a new partner.
"We have interested parties from the Gulf and from China," he told investors. "But we don't feel pressed to sell a share in the project."
Alekperov said 23 wells would be drilled at the oilfield by the end of 2013. LUKoil is targeting an internal rate of return of 15 percent versus earlier expectations of 13 to 15 percent.