Exxon Mobil’s major oil deal with Iraq delayed by U.S. evacuation

Exxon has a long term contract to improve Iraq’s West Qurna oil field.

In a significant development, Iraq’s Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban stated, a major oil deal between Iraq and Exxon Mobil is “very close” in the making; the trajectory of the deal however has been slowed down by the U.S. decision to evacuate its international staff from the West Qurna oil field.

“Had we concluded we would have signed a heads of agreement,” said Thamer Ghadhban in reference to a preliminary document that would set out terms of cooperation on the South Integrated Project.

He went on to add, “But now they are out of the country, why should I run after them?”

According to Iraqi oil officials, Exxon evacuated all of its foreign staff, totalling to 60 people, from the West Qurna 1 oil field on Friday and Saturday.

Exxon has a long term contract to improve the field.

The evacuation comes in the wake of a security alert caused by threats from Iran which has close ties to Shi’ite militia groups operating in Iraq. The U.S. is ramping up pressure through the sanctions route over Iran’s oil exports.

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