Exxon Moves on Kurdistan Deal Despite Baghdad Threat

According to sources in the city, supermajor ExxonMobil is establishing a presence in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region.

This is a major development because in November 2011, ExxonMobil signed an oil exploration deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government despite the fact that the different political factions in Iraq had not agreed on a law to distribute oil revenues between the provinces and the central government in Baghdad. The central government maintains that the KRG/ExxonMobil deal is illegal and threatened to nullify Exxon’s other contracts for oilfields in southern Iraq. Exxon announced that it would review the deal but appears to be going forward with implementing it.

ExxonMobil was the first supermajor to ink a contract with the KRG and rumors abound that other supermajors will finalize deals of their own soon. An industry source said that Total, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Eni and Lukoil are all interested in working with the KRG. Kurdistan has an estimated 45 billion barrels of proven reserves, compared to at least one hundred billion barrels of oil in southern Iraq. However, Kurdistan has proven to be a more attractive target for investors because its security situation and economy are markedly better than the rest of Iraq. Read more “Exxon Moves on Kurdistan Deal Despite Baghdad Threat”