Exxon Mobil freezes deal with Kurds
Paris, March 17, 2012
Iraq’s government has received a letter from Exxon Mobil saying the US oil major had frozen its deal with the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, Iraq’s Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said.
The US company had angered Baghdad by signing an exploration deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which the central government considers illegal.
“We received a letter from Exxon saying they are freezing the contract with the Kurds,”
Luaibi said on the sidelines of a news conference.
He said the Iraqi government had not yet reversed its intention to exclude Exxon Mobil from its next oil bidding round.
When asked whether it had done so, he replied: “Until now, no.”
“But maybe in a few days” Baghdad could change its position, if Exxon gave more clarification of its decision, he said.
Iraq earlier this month set a deadline of a few days for Exxon to explain its position on oil agreements signed with the Kurdish region, a government spokesman said at the time.
The KRG announced in November the signing of a deal for six exploration blocs with Exxon, the first major oil company to deal directly with the Kurds in northern Iraq.