Negotiations with Iraq’s Exxon Mobil deal worth $ 53 billion stalled

Editorial date:: 2019/6/21 11:42

The US energy giant ExxonMobil is moving ahead with a $ 53 billion project to boost Iraq’s oil production in its southern fields, an important step for the company’s ambition to expand in the country.

But according to government officials in Iraq, a combination of contractual wrangling and security concerns, fueled by rising tensions between neighboring Iran and the United States, is helping to derail the deal.

Four Iraqi officials involved in the talks, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the negotiations had been stalled by clauses of a contract opposed by Baghdad.

They said the main sticking point was the way Exxon proposed to recover its own development costs, with the company targeting to share oil produced from two fields, which Iraq rejects, saying it represents an infringement on state ownership of production.

An Iraqi negotiator said Baghdad would not sign anything on the current items proposed by Exxon.

Exxon declined to comment on the terms of the contract or negotiations. “In terms of habit, we do not comment on trade talks,” a spokeswoman for the company said in Texas.

Fayyad Nima, undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil for upstream activities, said on Wednesday the talks were continuing and he expected an agreement to be concluded soon

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