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.
A stand-off between the United States and Japan over access to farm and auto markets has been holding up negotiations over the 12-nation trade pact, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Hollande calls on companies and investors to join in 'fighting climate change'.
Currency market players 'would see opportunities' in central bank's measures, billionaire currency investor warns.
Schauble denies reports Berlin has prepared for the possibility Greece may leave the euro if Syriza party wins Greek elections.
The incident at the bank weakened the Libyan dinar against the dollar on the parallel market.
Support for Russian companies, small businesses and social spending make up bulk of new measures aimed at supporting ailing Russian economy.
In just seven days the central bank spent nearly $7bn of its reserves.
The site is on 233 hectares of reclaimed land in the capital, Colombo. Under the proposed deal, 108 hectares would be given to the Chinese firm, including 20 hectares on an outright basis and the rest on a 99-year lease.
The ECB said it would purchase sovereign debt from this March until the end of September 2016, despite opposition from Germany's Bundesbank
President pushes currency, fuel reforms for ailing Venezuela
All eyes on size, details of expected stimulus programme, Greek banks bounce as emergency line granted.
Greek government officials argued that they only needed to find additional cuts worth about 500 million euros.
Former U.S Treasury secretary: "Europe is not growing and is on the brink of deflating."
Gold appreciation picks up in reaction to weakening global growth prospects made by international finance institutes