ExxonMobil’s 32.7% operating stake at the 470,000 b/d capacity West Qurna-1 (WQ-1) oilfield is to be split between Iraq’s state-run Basrah Oil Company (BOC) with 22.7% and Indonesia’s national oil company Pertamina at 10% (MEES, 29 July). However, BOC’s Deputy Director General Hassan Muhammad Hassan says the buyout awaits “signing a settlement agreement” between the parties. With the Iraqi government being a caretaker administration and permanent government formation further delayed by complex political feuds (MEES, 5 August), reluctance is understandable. Decisions by the current cabinet may easily be challenged by incoming governments especially given that the country’s Supreme Court has ruled that it can only run day-to-day government activities. The other complicating factor that may arise could be linked to finances. Based on previous comments by Iraq’s Oil Minister Ihsan Ismaael, final payment will have to await Iraq passing a 2022 budget, something that may also be a long time coming.
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