ExxonMobil’s messy divorce with Iraq is getting litigious. The US major is looking to sell its 32.7% stake in the 470,000 b/d West Qurna-1 oil field (ExxonMobil 32.7%, CNPC 32.7%, Itochu 19.6%, Pertamina 10%, Iraq state Oil Exploration Co. 5%), but Iraq has blocked the sale and instead wants to buy the stake itself “in kind” (MEES, 21 May). Now, ExxonMobil is filing for arbitration on the planned sale with the International Chamber of Commerce.

Despite Iraq having offered to buy Exxon’s stake ‘in kind’ Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi asserted this week during his visit to the US, that Iraq would favor a sale to another US company. The odds of that happening appear very slim indeed. US major Chevron would be the most appealing candidate, but has so far not been tempted by the stake despite having flirted with entering federal Iraq for a number of years. (CONTINUED - 298 WORDS)