Thursday, February 9, 2012

Total moves in Kurdistan for Oil

Total prepares to move into Iraqi Kurdistan-sources

Thu Feb 9, 2012 11:10am EST
* Total said in serious talks with KRG

* French major seeking to build on Iraq presence

* Exxon still silent on its Kurdistan deal

By Patrick Markey and Peg Mackey

BAGHDAD, Feb 9 (Reuters) - France's Total is preparing the ground to become the next oil major to move into Iraqi Kurdistan, negotiating over two blocks following Exxon Mobil's deal with the semi-autonomous region last year, Kurdish and industry sources said.

Any contract between Total and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) risks exacerbating a feud between the Kurds and the Arab-dominated central government, which has already warned that Exxon's deal violates Baghdad's control over oil resources.

Since Kurdish officials announced the deal with Exxon last year, other majors have watched its outcome as they mull their own possible forays into Kurdistan or opportunities to snatch up smaller players already working there.

So far Total has signed no agreement, but KRG sources and oil executives say the French company has been in serious negotiations over two blocks, Pulkhana and Taza, which border disputed territories claimed by Baghdad and Arbil.

"The deal is very close, but Total may want to wait to see how things play out with Exxon," said one oil executive in Arbil who is aware of the talks.

more at the link:
Marco G.

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