(Bloomberg) -- Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer, said crude prices would probably remain around $65 a barrel in the coming months and announced it’s considering buying Exxon Mobil Corp.’s stake in one of the world’s biggest fields.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies -- a 23-nation grouping known as OPEC+ -- will continue trying to keep crude prices “within normal averages,” Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told reporters in Baghdad. “There is no concern about a drop in prices.”

The comments suggest OPEC+ remains confident about the outlook for energy demand, despite the surge in coronavirus cases in India, the third-largest oil importer.

Exxon Stake

Baghdad may end up buying Exxon’s 32.7% stake in the West Qurna-1 oil field in southern Iraq, the minister said. If so, the Iraqi government would probably purchase it through state-owned Basra Oil Co., he said.

The U.S. company is planning to sell the stake in the marquee field -- which has recoverable reserves of more than 20 billion barrels -- partly to reduce the mountain of debt it accumulated last year.

The minister also said Iraq would spend $3 billion in the next five years to boost Basra Oil’s natural-gas output by around 40% to 950 million standard cubic feet a day. A separate project to develop the eastern Mansuriya gas field with China’s Sinopec will probably cost $2.1 billion, he said.

(Updates with gas projects in final paragraph.)

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