American Energy Companies Have Been Almost Completely Shut Out Of Iraq's Oil Fields

According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, U.S. oil firms can count just one Iraqi oil field to their name.


Photo: IEA

The agency says:

Commentators largely agree that the federal authorities have driven a hard bargain with
international oil companies in these contracts. The agreed maximum remuneration fees
are at low levels per barrel of oil produced, meaning that the overwhelming share of
the revenue generated is retained by the government; but this is offset, in part, by the
prospect of high volumes, the expectation that the fields are of such size and quality that
there is little technical risk and the consideration that companies are not taking on price
risk or exploration risk.

In 2009, Time’s Vivienne Walt wrote about the beginnings of the lockout. She talked to one anonymous Iraqi official who explained what had happened:

The bidding was extremely tough. My guess is that [the U.S. companies] could not match the offers from others.” In Iraq, at least, the victor has no special claim on the spoils of war.

For what it’s worth, ExxonMobil scored the second-largest field in the country.

And American companies are doing much of the actual drilling.

But that pales in comparison to royalty amounts development companies will get. 

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