By John Lee.
The chief executive of French energy giant Total, Christophe de Margerie (pictured), has said that it is not clear if Iraq wants the company to withdraw from the Halfaya oilfield due to its dealings in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Total recently acquired a 20 percent interest in the Taza oil exploration block there from Canada's ShaMaran Petroleum for $48 million in cash, plus a reimbursement for costs incurred from 1st April until the closing date. An exploration well is currently drilling at the block, approximately 80 kilometers southwest of the city of Sulaimaniya.
In late July, Total acquired a 35 percent interest in two oil-exploration blocks in Kurdistan -- Harir and Safen -- from Marathon Oil.
Following Total's entry into Kurdistan, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Hussein al-Shahristani, told reporters in Baghdad that it must end its dealings with the semi-autonomous region or sell its stake in a major southern oil field, Halfaya, according to a report from Agence France Presse. He did not specify the time by which Total needed to make a decision.
Asked about whether Total was told to withthraw from Halfaya, Mr. de Margerie said:
"It has not been very clear. At least we took it as not very clear ... It is true it has been in the press that the Iraqi government made some statements about the fact that Total will have to choose between Kurdistan and the south but for the time being we have decided not to choose."
Total hopes the current situation will simply deflate, allowing it to remain in Halfaya and keep its assets in Kurdistan, said the person familiar with the matter.
(Source: Fox Business)