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Economy News - Baghdad
After ExxonMobil sold its 22.7 percent stake in the West Qurna-1 field, which has a proven reserve of 20 billion barrels and produces about 500,000 barrels per day, or the equivalent of 9% of the country’s oil production, to the Basra Oil Company.
The issue of foreign companies selling their shares in Iraqi fields raises many questions about the reasons behind it, as oil expert Issam Chalabi says: “The same reasons cannot be generalized to all companies regarding the sale of their shares in oil licensing rounds.”
Al-Jali stated in a press statement, “Many years ago, foreign oil companies began selling their shares in Iraqi oil fields, one of which was a Norwegian company, followed by Exxon Mobil, and the justification is always that they did not achieve sufficient profits.”
Al-Chalabi stressed, “This claim is not true, as these companies have plans and programs regarding work whether in Iraq or in the Middle East, in addition to the fact that a section of companies such as Shell focused on gas and clean energy projects instead of continuing with the issue of hydrocarbon fields and production.”
He added: “These companies achieved significant profits from their capital work, i.e. capital investments, after they completed the bulk of the required facilities, and this in itself cost Iraq a significant cost compared to the costs it had borne during the time the National Oil Company was operating.”
He continued: “However, we notice that there are foreign companies buying these shares, such as Chinese companies, and other companies have entered the arena, such as the Indonesian company Pertamina and the Malaysian Petronas company,” noting that “foreign companies have achieved what they wanted and are moving to implement other programs.”
Under an agreement between the two parties, Iraq will pay $350 million to the American company, at a time when a dispute occurred between the two parties over the amount of taxes that ExxonMobil must pay, as Iraq demands that the American company pay $120 million, while ExxonMobil agreed to pay only $12 million. No one knows yet whether this agreement has settled the tax issue or whether it will be referred to international arbitration.
ExxonMobil had sold part of its 32.7 percent stake in the field to the Indonesian company Pertamina last March, before selling the remainder to the Basra Oil Company and leaving the country.
Source: ABC Arabic
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