OREANDA-NEWS.   U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil will hand over a 25 percent stake in Iraq's West Qurna-1 oilfield project to China's biggest energy company PetroChina, Iraq's deputy prime minister for energy said.

Iraq said in August that Exxon was selling more than half of its 60 percent holding in the field. Along with the stake going to PetroChina, 10 percent is expected to be sold to Indonesia's Pertamina PERTM.UL, according to Iraq.

A statement from Hussain al-Shahristani's office said he had met with PetroChina's Iraq chief, Wang Shali, on Wednesday and that Thursday "will witness the signing of the final agreement between her company and Exxon Mobil", giving the Chinese company a 25 percent stake in the field.

The statement did not mention Pertamina.

Exxon is the operator of the giant oilfield and last year offered to sell its entire stake after a dispute with Baghdad over contracts it signed with Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region - deals the central government rejects as illegal.

It later committed to further investment at the field - now pumping almost 500,000 barrels a day - and stepped back from making a full exit. Tough terms and slim margins on Iraq's service-fee contracts are drawbacks to investment in southern Iraq.