PetroChina Assumes Lead Role as ExxonMobil Completes West Qurna 1 Operations

(Reuters) — U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil Corp. has formally exited the West Qurna 1 oilfield in southern Iraq and handed over its operations to PetroChina as lead contractor, a deputy oil minister told Reuters on Monday.

Senior Iraqi oil officials met with executives from ExxonMobil, PetroChina and Basra Oil Co. on Monday at the West Qurna 1 field near Basra to mark Exxon's complete exit and the handover of its operations to PetroChina.

"We are meeting today to bid farewell to ExxonMobil, and at the same time we congratulate PetroChina for becoming the lead contractor," Basim Mohammed, deputy oil minister for upstream affairs, told Reuters in an interview at the field.

PetroChina holds the largest stake in the field after the departure of Exxon.

Last year, Iraq signed a sale agreement to acquire 22.7% of ExxonMobil's stake in West Qurna 1 by Iraq's state-run Basra Oil Co. (BOC), while Indonesia's state-owned Pertamina bought the remaining 10% of Exxon’s stake, increasing its share to 20%.

The final settlement recently reached between Iraq's oil ministry and Exxon has served the interests of both parties, Mohammed said.

West Qurna 1 currently produces around 550,000 barrels per day (bpd), he added.

It is one of the world's largest oilfields with recoverable reserves estimated at more than 20 billion barrels.

Iraq and PetroChina plan to boost production to 600,000 bpd at the end of 2024, the head of BOC said.

Following its exit from West Qurna 1, Exxon will have no presence in Iraq's energy sector, BOC officials said.

The deputy oil minister said the government is keen to invite ExxonMobil to play a role in developing future energy projects.

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