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TotalEnergies starts Iraq exit as negotiations falter

The death of the $27 billion deal would represent a multi-year setback in Iraq’s efforts to boost production of oil, gas, and electricity.
Then-Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi (center) oversees TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné (left) signing one of four deals with Iraq's Oil and Electricity ministries on Sept. 5, 2021. (Source: Prime Minister's Media Office)

TotalEnergies has begun to withdraw staff from Iraq after a rocky meeting between CEO Patrick Pouyanné and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Paris, foreshadowing what could be the end of a $27 billion mega-deal that promised to provide badly needed infrastructure for the country’s energy sector.

In the meeting last week, Sudani and Oil Minister Hayyan Abdulghani reportedly surprised Pouyanné by reviving a demand that had torpedoed previous negotiations — that Iraq should take a 40 percent stake in the project rather than the 25 to 30 percent envisioned by the company.

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