While it may finally be safe enough for oil companies to start doing business in Iraq, that doesn’t mean they’ll be allowed to.
NYT: An Iraqi plan to award six no-bid contracts to Western oil companies, which came under sharp criticism from several United States senators this summer, has been withdrawn, participants in the negotiations said on Wednesday.
Iraq’s oil minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, told reporters at an OPEC summit meeting in Vienna on Tuesday that talks with Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Total, BP and several smaller companies for one-year deals, which were announced in June and subsequently delayed, had dragged on for so long that the companies could not now fulfil the work within that time frame. The companies confirmed on Wednesday that the deals had been canceled.
While not particularly lucrative by industry standards, the contracts were valued for providing a foothold in Iraq at a time when oil companies are being shut out of energy-rich countries around the world. The companies will still be eligible to compete in open bidding in Iraq.
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