Bahgdad: We Won’t Cancel Exxon Deal

Baghdad won’t terminate ExxonMobil’s (NYSE:XOM) contract to develop the West Qurna-1 oil field in southern Iraq as punishment for signing a deal with the Kurdistan region without first seeking Baghdad’s approval, said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Friday.

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Baghdad has a long-standing dispute with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region over land and the sharing of oil resources.

“We are looking for a way for [Exxon Mobil’s] other contracts in any area to be within the legal contexts,” said Maliki, “but as for cancelling its contract in the south, no.”

Exxon has “frozen” its controversial contract with the KRG, which was unveiled in the first half of November. Maliki suggested his government might be open to allowing Exxon to follow through on the deal if negotiations were first to be restarted with the involvement of the Ministry of Oil.

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“It [the contract] has a legal violation, it does not work unless Exxon comes back and negotiates with the Ministry of Oil in the presence of a representative of the Kurdistan region,” Maliki said.