World Bulletin / News Desk
Exxon Mobil has asked Iraq's prime minister if it can keep running a huge southern oilfield despite disagreements over rival contracts signed with the country's autonomous Kurdistan region, the government said on Monday.
The face-to-face talks between Shi'ite premier Nuri al-Maliki and Exxon's top executive in Baghdad come as the U.S. major offers to sell its stake in the West Qurna-1 oilfield in the south after clashing with Baghdad over its deals with the self-ruled Kurdish enclave in the north.
Iraq has been clear it considers deals oil companies like Exxon sign with the Kurdish enclave illegal. But the meeting may suggest Exxon is testing its room to balance investments with OPEC-member's central government and those with the self-governed Kurdistan region.
"Exxon Mobil asked to meet with the prime minister to know his opinion on the company's contracts in the south and in the northern region and if there was a possibility to keep working on both contracts," Maliki's media adviser Ali al-Moussawi said after the meeting.
"The prime minister's answer was clear to the head of Exxon that they can't keep operating on both deals at the same time and they should observe Iraq's laws."
A statement from the government said only that Exxon Chief Executive Rex Tillerson had "expressed his company's keenness to continue and expand its work in Iraq."
Iraqi officials had said late last year that China National Petroleum Corp, or CNPC, had emerged as the favourite in negotiations to take over Exxon's 60 percent stake in the $50 billion the West Qurna-1 project.
Iraq's Arab-led central government and Kurdistan Regional Government run by ethnic Kurds are caught in a dispute over control of oil revenues, oilfields and territory that is testing Iraq's federal union.
Iraq's government says it alone has the constitutional authority to export crude oil and sign deals, but Kurdistan says the constitution allows it to agree to contracts and ship oil independently of Baghdad.
Attempts to resolve the dispute have failed in part because of disagreements over a long-delayed oil and gas law meant to set a clearer framework for managing the country's vast oil reserves, the world's fourth largest.
PM Mahlab said that Egypt eyes sustainable growth to improve the living conditions of Egyptians, noting that the Egyptian economy is currently recovering.
The French economist calls for redistribution of global wealth, which he says is too concentrated in the hands of the few.
Bank cites high financing costs and financing difficulties as challenges that need to be addressed to sustain growth.
Smuggling is denying Tanzania some 80 percent of receipts accrued from the precious gemstone
The Africa initiative will create "one huge free-trade union" allowing foreign investors in Egypt to more easily reach 260 million consumers from South Africa to Ethiopia.
Budapest says the collapse of the rival Western-backed Nabucco project to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, and stalled plans to build inter-connector pipelines within eastern Europe, have left it with no alternative.
In Russia, the idea of a Saudi-U.S. plot against Moscow has become common currency as the economy struggles under the effects of low oil prices and Western sanctions imposed
Lithuania's new LNG terminal represents an end to Russia's gas monopoly in Lithuania, says Lithuania's president
The minister said the militants considered the eastern Syrian cities "safe for them" and thus transferred wheat and barley in Nineveh "to preserve it".
Decreasing oil prices are intended to pressurize and punish Iran and Russia: Int. Financial Markets expert says
Prices rise 30 percent as new president's deeply unpopular subsidy cut takes effect.
Japan's prime minister is to turn to the polls to see if his decision not to hike taxes can gain electoral support.
The agreement between the two countries, which trade around $3.2 billion in goods each year, will enable New Zealand to better compete with other countries in its sixth-largest export market.
G20 summit in Brisbane produced 800 commitments after two days of talks
The agreement gives Australian dairy farmers tariff-free access within four years to China's lucrative infant formula market, minus any of the "safeguard" caps that currently restrict competitors from New Zealand.
The shockingly downbeat report reinforced expectations Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will delay a sales tax hike, set for October next year, after a hike in the tax in April took a heavy toll on consumption.