Current CNPC holdings in Iraq include three fields in the south producing more than 1.4 million barrels of oil per day. The largest foreign players in Iraq’s emerging oil industry are China and Malaysia.
China National Petroleum Corporation has sought to expand its presence by acquiring the West Qurna 1 Field which holds reserves estimated to be worth $50 billion. Iraq’s Oil Ministry and Exxon had no comment on the potential deal but it is expected that not only will the Chinese expand into West Qurna 1 but also West Qurna 2, a field currently operated by a partnership of Norway’s state-owned Staatoil and Russian Lukoil.
Staatoil has expressed interest in divesting its stake in the West Qurna 2 Field while Lukoil has expressed interest in working with the Chinese. Currently, Iraqi oil fields produce 3 million barrels of oil a day and this output could increase to 8 million per day by 2035.
It is no shock that, with its growing economy and expanding international presence, China is hungry for oil: The People’s Republic of China (PRC) currently imports 60% of its oil, a percentage expected to increase to 80% by 2035.