Exxon Mobil excluded from Iraqi exploration blocks fourth licensing round
Azerbaijan, Baku, April 20 / Trend A.Badalova/
Iraq's Ministry of Oil excluded US Exxon Mobil from the list of bidders for its fourth licensing round for 12 exploration blocks on May 30-31, Energy Intelligence Group Inc. Reported on Friday.
The ministry has set a final list of 47 prequalified companies, which includes BP, Chevron, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Russia's Gazprom, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), Malaysia's Petronas, Russian Lukoil and TNK-BP, US Occidental and nine Japanese firms.
However, according to Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussein al-Shahristani, which spoke to journalists at a London conference, no decision on Exxon's participation in the fourth licensing round had yet been made. He reiterated Baghdad's view that only the central government is allowed to sign upstream contracts under the country's constitution.
In October, 2011, the relations between the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq and Baghdad deteriorated after Exxon Mobil has received a permission from the authorities of the Kurdish administration to conduct oil exploration and production in the Iraqi region. Baghdad considered the deal as illegal and warned the company that if it does not abandon the agreement with the Kurds, its deals with the central Iraqi government may be revised.
According to the head of the oil ministry's petroleum contracts and licensing directorate, Abdul Mahdy al-Ameedi, the final tender protocols and the "definitive" model exploration, development and production service contracts were issued Thursday to all prequalified companies.
According to BP, Iraq's proven oil reserves as of early 2011 amounted to 115 billion barrels. The country ranks third in OPEC after Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The territory of the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq has oil reserves worth 45 billion barrels.