Is Exxon Playing a Dangerous Game in The Middle East?

Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) will keep up its oil partnership with the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq despite Baghdad’s resentment at it.

A statement on the Kurdish president Masoud Barzani’s website said Exxon chief executive officer Rex Tillerson has reaffirmed the company’s commitment. “Rex Tillerson renewed the commitment of his company’s signed contracts with Kurdistan and Iraq and expressed the readiness of Exxon Mobil to continue its work in Kurdistan,” the statement said.

Earlier this week, Baghdad had issued a separate statement saying Exxon had suspended work in the Kurdish region. The Iraqi government has been trying to stop the region from developing its resources.

The Iraqi and Kurdistan governments have been feuding over controlling oil in the north region. Small companies, including the Norwegian firm DNO, had previously signed deals with the Kurdistan regional government directly, but when Exxon made a contract last October, Baghdad had reacted by threatening to bar the company from future deals and reconsider its role in a current project in southern Iraq.

Three of the six areas Exxon wants to develop are disputed territories between Iraq and Kurdistan.

Here’s how shares of Exxon closed the week:

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM): XOM shares recently traded at $84.82, down $0.16, or 0.19%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $67.03 to $88.13. Volume today was 11,957,908 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 15,544,500 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 10.07, while trailing earnings are $8.42 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aabha Rathee at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at