A move by Norwegian energy company Statoil to sell its shares in an oil field in Iraq gives it a chance to better focus its resources, an analyst said.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry said it approved the sale of the 18.75 percent stake in the West Qurna 2 oil field by Statoil to Russian oil company Lukoil.
"Both Lukoil and the Iraq authorities have confirmed that we have initiated a process of transferring our interests in the West Qurna 2 project," a Statoil spokesman was quoted by the Platts news service as saying. "I can confirm the process is ongoing but cannot say anything more."
Statoil and Lukoil secured the rights to develop the field during Iraq's second bidding round in 2009. Project partners had expected a production level of 1.8 million barrels of oil per day by 2017 though Lukoil had said initial developments wouldn't start until 2014.
Carl Christian Bachke, an analyst at brokerage company RS Platou, told Platts the deal made sense for Statoil.
"This is positive for Statoil -- they can now focus on areas where they can utilize their core competencies of deep-water and harsh-climate drilling," he said. "That's not being used in onshore Iraq."