Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq denied on Saturday news reports suggesting it had backtracked on an agreement with Exxon Mobil regarding an oil exports project at the country’s south.
In a statement on Saturday, the Iraqi oil ministry said its negotiations with the U.S. firm were “ongoing” regarding the Southern Iraq Integrated Porject, explaining that “failure to reach a deal does not mean that negotiations were halted”.
The ministry also denied that Italian energy giant ENI and British Petroleum (BP) were part of the USD 53 billion project, saying that the contracted agreements with both companies only involve the preparation of two seabed pipelines serving Iraq’s exports through the southern region. It said the agreements with ENI and BP were part of the ministry’s efforts to ensure smooth exports and maximized returns for the state’s treasury.
The ministry explained that mega projects require prolonged negotiations so as to achieve the best national benefits, as it put it.
The southern project involves rehabilitation a number of oil fields, expansion of export, transportation and storage capabilities.
Iraq is OPEC’s second largest oil exporter. Its exports for the last month stood at 3.566 million barrels a day.