The LA Times has a report on foreign oil majors efforts to secure contracts to develop Iraq's oil fields - Exxon Mobil-led consortium to develop major Iraqi oil field.
The Iraqi government Thursday signed a deal with a consortium led by U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. to develop a major oil field in southern Iraq, marking the first entry by an American-dominated group into Iraq's oil industry since it was nationalized in 1972.
The deal coincides with a flurry of activity this week that suggests major oil companies are finally poised to return to Iraq, more than six years after the U.S.-led military invasion raised firms' hopes of gaining access to some of the world's largest and most underdeveloped oil reserves.
This week, a group led by Italy's Eni that includes the U.S. company Occidental Petroleum Corp. initialed a preliminary agreement, and China National Petroleum Corp. and Britain's BP finalized an accord to develop oil fields in the south.
The deals are service contracts. That means the consortia will invest money to improve the yields of the fields and receive in return a fixed fee. The agreements came after the oil companies dramatically lowered their fees to match those offered by the Iraqi government at a public auction in June.
The consortium, 80% controlled by Exxon Mobil, will invest $25 billion to improve the yield of the West Qurna 1 field from 290,000 barrels a day to 2.3 million barrels a day, Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani said at the signing ceremony. ...
There are some doubts about the legality of these contracts, because the Iraqi parliament has still not passed new oil legislation. That's a risk the companies appear willing to take to gain access to Iraqi oil, Kemp said.