Exxon to reconsider Iraq deal, Maliki says
BAGHDAD- Agence France-PresseThe central Iraqi government says a deal between the Arbil administration and the US-based Exxon is illegal.
Oil giant ExxonMobil has promised to reconsider an exploration deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that Baghdad has strongly opposed, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
“We had a meeting with (Exxon) in Washington and we discussed the contracts, some of which are located in disputed areas,” Maliki told Agence France-Presse during an interview as he flew back to Iraq from Washington.
“They promised to reconsider their decision,” Maliki said.
KRG on October 18 inked a deal with ExxonMobil for it to explore six areas, however Baghdad regards any contracts not signed with the central government as invalid.
An official with the Iraqi oil ministry said that two of the areas -- Al-Qosh and Bardarash -- are actually parts of Nineveh province that Kurdistan wants to annex into its autonomous region, a move Baghdad opposes.
The contract potentially puts an Exxon contract with the Iraqi government in jeopardy.
In January 2010, Iraq’s oil ministry completed the deal with ExxonMobil and Anglo-Dutch giant Shell to develop production at West Qurna-1, which with reserves of about 8.5 billion barrels is the country’s second-biggest field.