Iraq gets better terms on two major deals

Oil Ministry converts larger loan from Exxon and Eni to smaller non-refundable signing bonus. It also received funding from the government to start a fourth state oil company.
Exxon Mobil executives and then-Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani (right) at the Jan. 25, 2010, signing ceremony for the West Qurna 1 field. (BEN LANDO/Iraq Oil Report)

BAGHDAD - The already sweet contracts Iraq scored from more than a dozen foreign oil firms just got a bit sweeter: instead of taking $700 million in loans from two consortia, it converted them to a $200 million signing bonus they get to keep.

Ten contracts signed with international oil companies since November give the operators between $1.15 and $6 for each additional barrel of oil produced, which is then assessed with a 35 percent tax and a 25 percent cut for the state oil partner.

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