Exxon preparing to drill in Kurdistan

Two years after taking center stage in Iraq's oil disputes with its signing of six KRG production sharing contracts, ExxonMobil is about to start drilling for oil.
Mouhsin Khidir, the mukhtar (village leader) of Sartke, with Exxon’s first rig at the Pirmam block in the background, on Oct. 30, 2013. (PATRICK OSGOOD/Iraq Oil Report)

SARTKE - A drilling rig towers above the Pirmam exploration block, where ExxonMobil is days away from spudding its first well in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region.

The start of drilling will cheer Kurdish leaders, who saw Exxon's entry to Kurdistan – over the objections of federal oil officials in Baghdad – as an implicit endorsement of both the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) independent oil sector and its wider ambitions for almost total autonomy within the federal structure of the Iraqi state.

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