China the frontrunner to buy Exxon out of Iraq oil
BEIJING/LONDON (REUTERS) - China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has emerged as the frontrunner to take over Iraq's West Qurna-1 oilfield from Exxon Mobil, a move that would diminish Western oil influence in Iraq a decade after the United States (US)-led invasion.
US oil major Exxon is giving up its stake in the giant southern oilfield after clashing with the central government in Baghdad over exploration contracts it had signed with the autonomous Kurdistan region in the north.
Iraqi and Chinese sources said CNPC unit Petrochina is negotiating for Exxon's 60 percent in the US$50 billion (S$61 billion) West Qurna-1 project and that there are rival bidders. Royal Dutch Shell is a minority partner.
"CNPC has shown interest; they are there. And from our side, there is no problem with them taking on a bigger position. We are not sensitive about this," a senior Iraqi official said.