Question: Has Embassy Baghdad, ENR, or other State officials had contact with Exxon or the Iraqi Government specifically regarding the Exxon agreement with the Kurdish regions of Iraq, either before or after the agreement? If so, what details can we provide?
Answer: It is routine for State Department officials to consult and advise with U.S. companies that are interested in doing business overseas. This is no different for U.S. companies interested in the oil sector in Iraq, where we have met and will continue to meet regularly with a number of U.S. companies, including Exxon-Mobil, who have interest in the development of Iraq’s oil sector. We will not get into the details of these meetings or our private conversations with these companies.
We have always advised and continue to advise all oil companies, including Exxon-Mobil, that they incur significant political and legal risks by signing any contracts with the Kurdistan Regional Government before national agreement is reached on the legal framework for the hydrocarbon sector. We have been clear on this issue but, at the end of the day, U.S. companies make their own market-based decisions.
The continued rapid development of Iraq’s oil sector is in everyone’s interest and we look to the Government of Iraq and Exxon-Mobil to resolve this issue in a way that will not impede future progress in this critical sector.