BP Plc and Russia’s Lukoil PJSC want to sell down their assets in Iraq, according to the country’s oil minister.
In a video posted on a Facebook page under his name, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said Lukoil sent him a notification to sell its stake in the West Qurna-2 field to Chinese companies, and that BP wants to pull out of the giant Rumaila field.
“The existing investment environment in Iraq is inappropriate to keep the major investors,” he said. “All major investors are either looking for another market or for another partner. We, as an investment environment, are inappropriate for major partners.”
Jabbar, who appeared in front of a parliamentary committee last week, also said Exxon Mobil Corp. wants to sell its stake in West Qurna-1 for no more than $400 million, a price he called “very cheap.” State-controlled Basra Oil Co. is considering a deal, he said.
No one from Lukoil or BP was available to comment outside of normal business hours.
Iraq pumps about 4 million barrels a day of crude, more than any other member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries aside from Saudi Arabia. Yet international energy companies have been put off in recent years by tough contractual terms, payment delays and political instability.
Widespread protests have broken out in the past week over power outages, leading Iraq’s electricity minister to resign. The government has said that oil production has not been affected by the power cuts.