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Exxon to start drilling in disputed Kurdish blocks

Contrary to Baghdad's claims that Exxon's KRG contracts are "frozen," the company is spending a quarter-billion dollars and will spud its first well this year.
The view from the drilling platform at Shaikan 5 appraisal well, operated by Gulf Keystone Petroleum. (SEBASTIAN MEYER/Metrography/Iraq Oil Report)

ExxonMobil has signed contracts to drill in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region by the end of this year, despite claims by Baghdad officials that the company has vowed to "freeze" its controversial contracts.

Exxon has spent or allocated a quarter-billion dollars for exploration, drilling and other work and supplies in Iraq's Kurdistan region, according to an official with knowledge of Exxon and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

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