Sources told Reuters that large Chinese companies such as China National Petroleum and CNOOC are studying the purchase of Exxon Mobil's remaining stake in an oil field in Iraq. The transition could be worth at least $500 million.
According to people who did not want to be identified, the state agencies are evaluating a possible agreement to buy Exxon's 32.7% stake in Iraq's West Qurna 1 field.
"Iraq has not proved as attractive as expected a decade ago," said Richard Bronze, co-founder of the consultancy Energy Aspects. "American and European companies are not seeking these great opportunities for exploitation, which is bad news for Iraq's expansion plans. In contrast, Chinese companies are still interested."
For the time being, no final decision has been made and there is no guarantee that the deliberations will lead to an agreement. Geopolitical risks in Iraq could bring uncertainty to any possible deal, the sources added. Representatives for CNOOC, Exxon and CNPC declined to comment.