UPDATE: Cabinet taps INOC to acquire Exxon’s stake in West Qurna 1

Iraq is trying to resolve a dispute over one of its largest oil fields by authorizing the newly formed national oil company to take over ExxonMobil's operating stake.
A worker adjusts the valve of an oil pipe at the West Qurna 1 oilfield in Basra on Nov. 28, 2010. (ATEF HASSAN/Reuters)

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comments from Minister of Communications Arkan al-Shaibani, who said Iraq was offering $350 million to ExxonMobil for its stake in the West Qurna 1 contract, as well as comments from BOC Deputy Director General Hassan Mohammad Hassan, who confirmed that BOC, an INOC subsidiary, will be the operator of West Qurna 1 if the sale goes through.

BAGHDAD/BASRA - The Iraqi government is attempting to take over ExxonMobil's operating stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field rather than approve a sale to international investors.

In a Jan. 5 statement, the Oil Ministry said the Iraqi Cabinet had "approved the Iraqi National Oil Company's acquisition of ExxonMobil's share in West Qurna 1." Minister of Communications Arkan al-Shaibani and Basra Oil Company (BOC) Deputy Director General Hassan Mohammad Hassan subsequently clarified that BOC, which is a subsidiary of INOC, would be the field operator.

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