oil ministry said on Saturday it was still in talks with US energy giant
ExxonMobil over a major deal to improve the country’s southern oil
An agreement with Britain’s BP and Italy’s Eni was not part of the $53 billion, 30-year mega-project. It covered the building of two seabed oil pipelines for exports through the Gulf, the ministry said.
Earlier, five senior Iraqi oil officials said that Iraq was close to reaching a deal with BP and Eni for an export pipeline project that was initially planned as part of the mega-deal with ExxonMobil.
“The ministry affirms that its negotiations with US company ExxonMobil are ongoing,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Not reaching an agreement or signing a deal between both parties does not mean the end of negotiations or the ‘exclusion’ of ExxonMobil from the project as reported by news agencies citing officials they did not name.”
The deal with Eni and BP was limited to the two seabed oil pipelines, it said. Large strategic projects required more time to research, negotiate, and study, it added.
The southern mega-deal involves several projects including developing oil fields, expanding storage, transport, and export infrastructure, and building byproduct gas treatment units.