New Bashiqa drilling touches a political nerve

DNO has begun a drilling campaign in the heart of Iraq's disputed territories, after the Norwegian company took over as operator from ExxonMobil.
New Bashiqa drilling touches a political nerve
The town of Bashiqa, in Ninewa province, stands at the foothills of Bashiqa Mountain. In the foreground are restored Yazidi temples, which were destroyed when IS controlled the town between 2014 and 2016. (SAMYA KULLAB/Iraq Oil Report)

BASHIQA - Of all the oil projects in Iraq, the Bashiqa exploration block - which straddles the line of control between the autonomous Kurdistan region and the federal government - is perhaps the most laden with political and geological complexity.

Those daunting factors caused ExxonMobil to farm out half of its stake in the project in 2017. Now, Norway's DNO has taken over as operator, under a contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and is beginning a fraught new chapter of oil development in the area.

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