Iraq nears massive oil sector deal with Exxon

After years of negotiations, the Southern Iraq Integrated Project is gaining traction - a critical piece of Iraq's long-term plans to increase production and exports.
A welder seals a segment of a pipeline connecting a storage facility at Fao to floating export terminals in the Basra Gulf. Iraq's state-run South Oil Company (SOC) started work on the 700-meter pipeline, which is 24 inches in diameter, on Aug. 15, 2012. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report)

BAGHDAD - Iraq is making progress in negotiations with ExxonMobil and the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) for a multi-billion-dollar deal that is key to expanding the country's oil production and export capacity.

Talks over the so-called Southern Iraq Integrated Project (SIIP) have been ongoing since at least 2015 – and some aspects of the project for nearly a decade – but for the first time, officials on both sides are expressing optimism that the major parameters of the deal have been agreed, and a contract could be signed in early 2019.

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