PetroChina willing to partner Exxon on Iraq project

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(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

PetroChina is willing to jointly develop the West Qurna oilfield in Iraq with Exxon Mobil, the chairman of China's largest oil and gas producer said on Tuesday.

There has been speculation in recent months that Exxon was considering pulling out of the $50 billion West Qurna 1 oilfield located in southern Iraq after it signed for six blocs with the autonomous Kurdistan regional government.

Baghdad was trying to woo back Exxon to stay on the project, putting the US energy giant in a dilemma.

"We are willing to jointly develop the project with Exxon Mobil. Exxon Mobil welcomed our participation and the Iraqi government also supports us joining the development," PetroChina chairman Jiang Jiemin told reporters on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session in Beijing.

Jiang said his company would "thoroughly evaluate the project" and make an investment decision at an "appropriate" time.

"The asset value of the whole project is massive, but near-term capital spending required is not that huge," said Jiang, adding that parties have yet to discuss the size of stakes to be shared.

Asked if PetroChina is aware of Baghdad trying to keep Exxon in the project, Jiang said: "Iraq has its own bottom lines. If Exxon continues with its new projects in the Kurdistan region, its operations in Iraq will face some difficulties".

PetroChina, the first foreign oil company to sign an oil service deal in Iraq after the toppling of its former president Saddam Hussein, is investing in several giant oil projects such as Halfaya and Rumaila.

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