MOSCOW, March 12 (UPI) -- Russian oil company Lukoil said it plans to invest billions of dollars in an oil field in southern Iraq after taking control of Statoil's minority stake.
Lukoil aims to invest around $2 billion in the West Qurna-2 oil field in Iraq this year, Bloomberg News reports. A company spokesman told Bloomberg that $200 million was invested there in 2011.
The oil company, the largest private energy company in Russia, also announced plans to start construction on a new oil pipeline and spell out details for its drilling program.
Last week, the Iraqi Oil Ministry announced that it approved the sale of the 18.75 percent stake in the West Qurna 2 oil field by Statoil to Lukoil.
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.
Statoil was said to be focusing more on its deep-water assets, which wouldn't apply to Iraq's oil fields.
Iraq scheduled its fourth international auction for rights to oil and natural gas assets for May.