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Talks advance for Exxon to exit West Qurna 1

ExxonMobil is aiming to sell its stake to two buyers, Pertamina and Iraq’s state-run BOC, leaving PetroChina to take over as operator.
A worker adjusts the valve of an oil pipe at the West Qurna 1 oilfield in Basra on Nov. 28, 2010. (ATEF HASSAN/Reuters)

ExxonMobil is getting closer to exiting Iraq as it negotiates a two-part deal to sell its 32.7 percent stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field to Indonesia’s Pertamina and the state-run Basra Oil Company (BOC).

If it goes through, the sale would resolve a dispute that Exxon has taken to international arbitration. It would also strengthen China’s foothold in Iraq’s oil sector, since PetroChina, which currently holds a 32.7 percent non-operating stake in the project, would take over as operator.

Two Iraqi oil officials confirmed the broad contours of the proposed deal, in which Pertamina would get an additional 10 percent interest in the project, raising its total stake to 20 percent, and BOC would purchase Exxon’s remaining 22.7 stake.

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