Iraq’s oil ministry says it is in discussions with unnamed US firms to buy ExxonMobil’s stake in the 470,000 b/d West Qurna-1 oilfield (ExxonMobil 32.7%op, CNPC 32.7%, Itochu 19.6%, Pertamina 10%, and state-owned Oil Exploration Co. 5%). Rumours have been circulating for some time that Exxon is looking to leave Iraq, where margins are thin, security concerns are ever-present and delays on major infrastructure projects are holding up expansion plans (MEES, 11 December 2020).

From the roster of US firms, the only one comparable to Exxon would be Chevron which has long contemplated entering federal Iraq but has yet to pull the trigger (MEES, 21 August 2020). Outside of Chevron, independent firm Oxy can likely be discounted having previously exited Iraq in frustration at the poor payment terms (MEES, 13 November 2015). (CONTINUED - 124 WORDS)