Iraq is considering buying Exxon Mobil Corp.’s stake in the southern West Qurna 1 oil field through the state-owned Basra Oil Co. (BOC), the country’s oil minister said May 3.

The oil ministry is discussing BOC “taking ownership of the Exxon stake in West Qurna 1 and leading the project, as happened with Majnoon,” Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said during a news conference, referring to the huge Majnoon oil field in southern Iraq.

Iraq said in April that Exxon Mobil was seeking to sell its 32.7% stake in the West Qurna 1 field, and that the oil ministry had started discussions with U.S. oil companies over a possible purchase.

Exxon Mobil did not respond to a request for comment.

Abdul Jabbar also said at the news conference that development of Iraq’s Mansuriya gas field on the coast near the Iranian border is expected to cost $2.1 billion.

In April, China’s Sinopec won a deal to develop the field in partnership with Iraq’s state-run Midland Oil Co.

Abdul Jabbar added that he does not expect oil prices to drop below $65 per barrel and that lower oil prices should not be a concern after OPEC+ eases production cuts from May.

As a part of its drive to boost gas production, Iraq plans to invest $3 billion in the Basra Gas Co. over the next five years to increase its production capacity by 40% to 1.4 billion cubic feet (Bcf) a day, Abdul Jabbar said.

Basra Gas Co. is a joint venture between state-owned South Gas Company, Shell and Mitsubishi.