By John Lee.
Andrei Kuzyayev [Andrey Kuzyaev] (pictured), head of Lukoil's overseas operations, has said that Lukoil plans to reach commercial levels of oil production at West Qurna-2 in the first quarter of 2014, and is interested in participating in the Kirkuk oilfield in northern Iraq.
He told Reuters:
"There are no infrastructure risks [in Iraq] for today. We have a firm assurance from Iraq's South Oil Company that they will receive all our oil.
"To minimise this risk, we are building three reservoirs of 66,000 cubic metres each in Tuba and a 102-kilometre pipeline to Tuba with capacity of 700,000 barrels per day."
He said Lukoil would start producing West-Qurna's first commercial volumes of oil, above 120,000 barrels per day (bpd), in the first quarter of 2014, when production for the year will stand at over 5 million tonnes (more than 100,000 bpd).
He reiterated that the field would produce 1.2 million bpd at its peak, but the plans were yet to be finalised with the Iraq government.
Lukoil controls 75 percent of the West Qurna-2 oilfield and has been looking for a partner to replace Statoil, which decided to leave the project last year.
Kuzyayev said talks were under way with several partners but the company was "focused on the project implementation" and a need for a partner "is not as acute as it was last year".
He said the company was also looking at other opportunitie in Iraq, including Kirkuk and Nasiriya and new exploration projects; "There are no talks on Nasiriya and on Kirkuk, we are just interested in it (Kirkuk), no more", he said.