Updated: 2013-01-24 ( China Daily) –
Oil giant wants to buy 60% of Exxon Mobil stake for $50b, reports say
The energy giant China National Petroleum Corp is looking to expand its business in Iraq.
US oil company Exxon Mobil Corp wants to sell stakes in the West Qurna phase 1 oilfield in Iraq, and CNPC unit PetroChina, China's largest energy producer, is interested in buying 60 percent for $50 billion, according to Reuters.
An official who declined to be named at CNPC said he has not been informed of the deal, while Exxon Mobil declined to comment on Wednesday.
However, another industry insider who works at an organization under CNPC told China Daily the company has shown great interest in buying stakes in the West Qurna phase 1 since last year. "It's just too sensitive to release anything now," he said.
The insider said that since CNPC signed a service agreement with Iraq's Ministry of Petroleum on the development of the Al-Ahdab oilfield in November 2008, the company has accumulated rich experience in Iraq.
As one of the biggest oilfields in Iraq, West Qurna phase 1 has reserves of about 10 billion to 15 billion barrels, with a highest daily output of 1 million barrels.
CNPC has three oil projects in Iraq - the Al-Ahdab, Rumaila and Halfya oilfields, with an overall daily output of about 1.6 million barrels, accounting for about half of Iraq's total daily output.
Iraq's oil output will exceed 6 million barrels a day in 2020 and rise to more than 8 million barrels a day in 2035, according to a report from the International Energy Agency in November.
It said China will become a major consumer of Iraq's oil, and will continue to invest substantially in Iraqi oil production infrastructure.
Half of Iraq's oil production will eventually go to China, Fatih Birol, the agency's chief economist, estimated.
However, a Chinese expert said investing in Iraq's oil industry still carries high risks due to the current political situation there.