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Exxon in talks with buyers for Iraq West Qurna 1 field: Shahristani

LONDON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil is in advanced stages of discussions with potential buyers to take on the West Qurna 1 oilfield, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain Shahristani said on Tuesday.

He told reporters on the sidelines of the Oil and Money conference in London that Exxon would soon hand over the field to a company that had the capabilities to exploit it, but he declined to say how many companies there were or to identify their country of origin.

ExxonMobil has informed the Iraqi government it wants to pull out of the $50 billion oil project in southern Iraq.

Russia's second largest crude producer LUKOIL said on Friday it would study an offer from Exxon to take over the West Qurna-1 oilfield, Interfax news agency said.

LUKOIL, which is already developing West Qurna-2, has previously said West Qurna-1 is "too big for it to swallow", but on Friday said it would at least look into the proposal. (Reporting by Simon Falush; Editing by Anthony Barker)