Iraq Blocks Exxon Licence Bid

ExxonMobil is to be excluded from Iraq's fourth licensing auction because of its deals in Iraqi Kurdistan.

"The Iraqi government has decided that Exxon won't be allowed to participate in the next oil and gas bidding round," Faisal Abdullah, a spokesman for Iraq's Deputy Prime Minster for Energy, Hussein al-Shahristani, said on Monday.

"We are still waiting for Exxon to answer our letters in which we warned that it has to choose between contracts in Kurdistan and those in southern Iraq," Mr. Abdullah said, adding that in light of Exxon's reply the Iraqi government would make a decision regarding its contract in the south.

"Exxon was informed about the Iraqi government position clearly and openly. They asked for some time, and we are waiting for their final answer to inform them of our final decision," Shahristani said.

Meanwhile, French oil giant Total has said that it will focus on opportunities in iraqi Kurdistan, as it does not regard the terms in the fourth round to be attractive.

(Source: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters)

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