China's largest oil and gas producer - PetroChina - is
interested in joining Texas-based
), for the development of West Qurna oilfield in southern Iraq.
Both parties are yet to finalize on the size of stakes to be
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ExxonMobil was mulling over withdrawing from the $50 billion West
Qurna 1 oilfield project after it signed for six blocks with the
autonomous Kurdistan regional government. However, the Iraqi
government was forcing the company to continue with the project.
Located in the south of Iraq, near the city of Basra, the West
Qurna oil field has estimated reserves of 8.7 billion barrels.
Earlier, in 2010, ExxonMobil and its minority partner
Royal Dutch Shell Plc
) signed an agreement for the project with a targeted output of
2.825 million barrels per day by 2017.
PetroChina's interest to jointly develop the field with
ExxonMobil was appreciated by the latter and the Chinese major
also got the Iraqi government's support. PetroChina is likely to
perform a project appraisal in a comprehensive manner and make an
investment decision at the right time.
Though the project has a substantial asset value, it does not
require massive capital spending in the near term.
PetroChina represents the first foreign oil company to ink an oil
service deal in Iraq after the collapse of its former president
Saddam Hussein. It is also investing in several giant oil
projects such as Halfaya and Rumaila.
ExxonMobil has diverse operations across the world with several
new projects expected to come online through 2013. While Exxon
functions in all corners of the globe, the main areas of focus
for the coming years include the U.S., Canada, Kazakhstan, West
Africa, Australia, Russia, Angola and Iraq for new volumes.
ExxonMobil holds a Zacks Rank #3, which is equivalent to a
short-term Hold rating. However, there are other stocks in the
oil and gas sector -
Range Resources Corporation
) - which hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and are expected to