ExxonMobil has quit Iraqi Kurdistan, relinquishing its sole remaining license in the region – the Pirmam gas block. The supermajor’s contentious 2011 entry was spearheaded by then-CEO Rex Tillerson in the face of opposition not only from Baghdad but also from the US Department of State. A decade after sparking political outcry, Exxon has walked away without much to show.

Attracting international majors was a cornerstone of Iraqi Kurdistan’s strategy for developing its nascent oil and gas sector a decade ago. Erbil’s success in bringing in the likes of ExxonMobil, Total, Chevron and Gazprom Neft helped provide a political shield against Baghdad’s opposition – the four firms are national champions from three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. (CONTINUED - 1376 WORDS)