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Russian Oil Companies Say Iraqi Fields Not Threatened

Source: Reuters 6/17/2014, Location: Middle East

Oilfields operated by Lukoil and Gazprom Neft in Iraq are distant from the fighting there and there is no need to fear disruption to output, the companies said.

Lukoil, Russia's second largest oil producer, operates West Qurna-2 oil field in the south. Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of state gas producer Gazprom, works at Badra oil field, in the east.

"Of course we are worried, but we hope the project won't suffer. There are no additional risks," Andrey Kuzyaev, CEO of Lukoil Overseas, told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy conference.

CEO Vagit Alekperov told reporters that Lukoil had boosted security at West Qurna-2, but did not feel that the project was under threat at the moment.

Gazprom Neft, which started oil at Badra this month, shared the concern over safety but said that there was no immediate impact on the project.

"Badra is at the border with Iran. Everything is under the plan now but we work on the plan B, including evacuation options," Vadim Yakovlev, first deputy chief executive with Gazprom Neft, told reporters.

"We don't expect it at the moment and are working in a calm region."

The company hopes production at the field will reach 15,000 barrels per day later this year when the necessary infrastructure is expected to be in place.

Production is expected to reach a peak of 170,000 barrels per day (around 8.5 million tonnes per year) in 2017 and then remain stable for seven years.

Lukoil started oil production at West Qurna-2 in March and is producing more than 200,000 barrels per day. It hopes to load the first tanker with oil from the field in the third quarter this year.

Kuzyaev added that thanks to West Qurna-2, Lukoil's foreign hydrocarbon production is expected to reach 15 million tonnes in oil equivalent this year, up from around 11 million tonnes last year.

In total, Lukoil produced 116.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent last year, of which 90.8 million tonnes - or 1.8 million barrels per day - was oil. Lukoil has the most foreign exposure of any Russian energy company.

Bob Dudley, the CEO of BP, which operates the Rumaila oil field in Iraq, told reporters on Tuesday that BP's operations in Iraq were so far unaffected by the violence.

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