BAGHDAD, March 28 Exxon Mobil is in negotiations
to sell 5 percent of its stake in Iraq's West Qurna-1 oilfield
to Abu Dhabi's state-run investment fund Mubadala, part of the
U.S. major's moves to reduce its exposure there, Iraqi oil
officials said on Thursday.
Any sale of a part of West Qurna would follow Exxon's
decision last year to sell its stake in the $60 billion field
after upsetting Iraq's central government by signing deals with
the country's autonomous Kurdistan region.
Iraq's central government had told the U.S. oil company it
would have to choose between West Qurna and the Kurdistan oil
deals, but Baghdad still offered Exxon sweeter terms in an
attempt to keep it working in the southern oilfield.
"Exxon is staying in West Qurna-1 at least until next year,
but at same time the company is moving ahead to cut its share in
the West Qurna project to shift focus to other projects," said
one Iraqi oil official without giving details.
Officials at the United Arab Emirates fund and Exxon were
not immediately available to comment.
The two Iraqi oil officials, who spoke on condition of
anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media,
said Exxon's allocation of $1.65 billion to develop the field in
2013 indicated it planned to stay until next year.
The talks with Mubadala follow negotiations with other
companies for part of West Qurna.
Indonesia's state-owned oil and gas firm Pertamina is in
talks to buy 10-20 percent of the Exxon stake and industry
sources have also said China's National Petroleum Corp is
willing to join Exxon with part of West Qurna.