Rosneft said to discuss taking stake in Exxon’s Kurdish blocks
STEPHEN BIERMAN and BRIAN SWINT
IRVING, Texas (Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. is negotiating to bring OAO Rosneft into oil and gas licenses in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, according to people familiar with the talks.
Rosneft is still considering the proposal, part of a global alliance between the largest U.S. and Russian oil companies, and a deal isn’t guaranteed, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are confidential.
Exxon signed six PSCs covering more than 848,000 acres in Kurdistan in October 2011, according to the Irving, Texas-based company’s 2013 annual report on its website. Exxon began a seismic survey on four of six blocks in 2013 and has begun drilling one well, according to the report.
Exxon and Rosneft are pushing ahead with joint projects, including the exploration of the Arctic Ocean, even as relations between the U.S. and Russia sour because of the crisis in Ukraine. Reciprocal sanctions from both countries have so far avoided oil and gas production and exploration.
Kurdistan, an autonomous region in northern Iraq, is ramping up oil production and negotiating with the government in Baghdad to allow pipeline exports. Exxon reduced its stake in one of the biggest oilfields in southern Iraq after moving into Kurdistan, where the power to award exploration licenses has been the subject of dispute between the central and regional administrations.
Rosneft’s press service and an Exxon representative in Moscow declined to comment as did an official at the Kurdistan Regional Government.