Iraqi Oil Minister voices disappointment with ExxonMobil’s plans to leave Iraq

Iraq’s Oil Minister, Hayan Abdel Ghani, voiced his disappointment with ExxonMobil’s intention to withdraw from the West Qurna 1 oilfield in Iraq at the beginning of 2024. Instead, the Ministry of Oil claims that ExxonMobil plans to focus on potential investment opportunities in African nations.Baghdad instructed ExxonMobil to continue operating the West Qurna 1 oilfield in southern Iraq, but the oil giant had other ideas, according to Abdel Ghani.

During the Baghdad Dialogue conference, Abdel Ghani said that PetroChina has taken ExxonMobil’s position as the principal operator at Qurna 1.Compared to American energy corporations, Chinese companies—particularly China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), which holds interests in the Al-Ahdab, Halfaya, Rumaila, and West Qurna 1 fields—are more actively investing in the Iraqi energy sector.

S&P Global Commodity Insights estimates that Chinese businesses directly control over 24 billion barrels of reserves and contribute to the average extraction of 3 million barrels of oil per day in Iraq.