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Baghdad wants answers from Exxon Mobil

March 7, 2012 at 9:31 AM

BAGHDAD, March 7 (UPI) -- The Iraqi government wants Exxon Mobil to explain what it intends to do in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region ahead of a major international auction.

Exxon Mobil is eager to start work in the Kurdish north of Iraq. The government in Baghdad, however, told the supermajor it needs to spell out its intentions there, British newspaper The Guardian reports.

Exxon could be blocked for the country's fourth international auction set for May because of Kurdish ambitions. Baghdad says unilateral deals with the Kurdish government are illegal.

Exxon has asked for a "few more days" to decide whether it wants to go ahead with the Kurdish deal or embrace a contract with the federal government in the West Qurna development, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The International Energy Agency said it was preparing a report on the Iraqi energy sector for later this year. Baghdad announced this week that oil production topped 3 million barrels per day for the first time in decades, though the IEA said a fractured political system could handicap major developments in the energy sector.

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