It is probably merely coincidental that Exon Mobil boss Rex Tillerson just recently sat down to mend fences with Iraq's prime minister.
Middle east online reports, "The meeting was the first between Maliki and Exxon chief Rex Tillerson since the firm signed an agreement in October 2011 for oil exploration with Kurdistan, angering the central government, which has said the US company must choose between its deals with Baghdad and with the autonomous region." Exon had pissed off the Iraqis by signing a seperate deal with Kurds running their area of Iraq. Baghdad and the Kurds have been at loggerheads for years over rights to develop Iraq's vast oil wealth, but tensions have been on the rise in recent months. The Kurds, who have their own armed forces, have signed dozens of deals with foreign oil companies since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
While in town to visit the PM, the Exon Chief spent some time with U.S. Ambassador Robert S. Beecroft, too. Probably just wanted to chat about the kids or something.
Oh, by the way Iraq announced Sunday it has, "... has discovered deposits of crude equivalent to one billion barrels of oilafter the first exploration work by state-owned firms in almost 30 years."
The Economic Times writes:
The deposits were found after exploration in Maysan province, in southern Iraq near the border with Iran, and could potentially make a significant addition to Baghdad's already substantial reserves.
"Exploration began in Maysan, south of (provincial capital) Amara" last year, oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told AFP.
"Today, it completed 100 per cent and achieved a big success.
"The initial assessment from this discovery is about one billion barrels of oil," he said, adding: "It will increase production capacity for (state-owned) Maysan Oil Company."
The Iraqi government said on Monday that Exxon Mobil had asked Iraq’s prime minister if it can keep running a huge southern oilfield despite disagreements over rival contracts signed with the country’s autonomous Kurdistan region.
The Iraqi Turkmen Front News Portal (ITC) says,
...the meeting may suggest Exxon is testing its room to balance investments with OPEC-member’s central government and those with the self-governed Kurdistan region.
“The prime minister’s answer was clear to the head of Exxon that they can’t keep operating on both deals at the same time and they should observe Iraq’s laws.”
Iraqi officials had said late last year that China National Petroleum Corp, or CNPC, had emerged as the favourite in negotiations to take over Exxon’s 60 percent stake in the $50 billion the West Qurna-1 project.
Of course, all these things happening at about the same time are merely coincidental because who cares about oil and all that money anyway?
The following is from Grist.