#AceNewsServices – CHINA (Beijing) – June 19 – China’s biggest oil firms have prepared evacuation plans in case violence spreads in Iraq, state media reported Thursday.
China has more than 10,000 workers on a wide range of projects in the Middle Eastern country, AFP reported. “If insurgents begin to attack Baghdad, we will pull out of the country immediately,” the Global Times quoted an employee of Chinese state-owned energy giant China National Offshore Oil Corp. as saying.
Resources are a key interest for China, the world’s second-largest economy, and Iraq is its fifth-largest source of crude oil imports, while China is the largest foreign investor in Iraq’s oil sector.
Production at the four oil fields of PetroChina, the listed arm of China’s largest oil producer China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), has not been affected, a company representative told the paper.
All of them are in central or southern Iraq, but the representative added: “Some Chinese nationals in the north were evacuated. We have prepared some contingency plans.”
The Global Times also reported that more than 1,000 Chinese employees of state-run firm China Machinery Engineering Corp were “stranded” in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra, although a company representative disputed the description.
(NYT) – June 17 – As the violence of the American-led invasion of Iraq and the ensuing civil war ebbed after 2008, some analysts said that China had emerged as the big winner from the strife, at least in terms of oil interests. China National Petroleum Corporation, the largest state-owned energy company, had become the biggest foreign investor in the Iraqi oil industry. With a tolerance for risk and willingness to accept lower profits, C.N.P.C., as it is commonly called, won major government contracts and invested billions of dollars in Iraq.
Now, the company’s acceptance of risk is being tested as it anxiously watches the growing Iraq crisis. A well-trained Sunni jihadist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, began a broad offensive this month that threatens to drag Iraq back into civil war.
(CNPC) – January 2013 – The energy giant China National Petroleum Corp is looking to expand its business in Iraq.
US oil company Exxon Mobil Corp wants to sell stakes in the West Qurna phase 1 oilfield in Iraq, and CNPC unit PetroChina, China’s largest energy producer, is interested in buying 60 percent for $50 billion, according to Reuters.
An official who declined to be named at CNPC said he has not been informed of the deal, while Exxon Mobil declined to comment on Wednesday.
However, another industry insider who works at an organization under CNPC told China Daily the company has shown great interest in buying stakes in the West Qurna phase 1 since last year. “It’s just too sensitive to release anything now,” he said.
The insider said that since CNPC signed a service agreement with Iraq’s Ministry of Petroleum on the development of the Al-Ahdab oilfield in November 2008, the company has accumulated rich experience in Iraq.
As one of the biggest oilfields in Iraq, West Qurna phase 1 has reserves of about 10 billion to 15 billion barrels, with a highest daily output of 1 million barrels.
CNPC has three oil projects in Iraq – the Al-Ahdab, Rumaila and Halfya oilfields, with an overall daily output of about 1.6 million barrels, accounting for about half of Iraq’s total daily output.
Iraq’s oil output will exceed 6 million barrels a day in 2020 and rise to more than 8 million barrels a day in 2035, according to a report from the International Energy Agency in November.