The second of the postwar bidding contests to determine which of the members of the world's major oil companies would land the rights to work on Iraq's giant oilfields was completed last weekend. Surprisingly, not a single U.S. company walked away with new property charts under its arm.
Indeed, the Americans, including ExxonMobil
Essentially, the objective of the event is an ultimate effort to raise Iraq's daily output during the next six years, from its current level near 2.5 million barrels per day to closer to 12 million daily barrels. The latter figure would pretty much place it neck and neck with current world leader Saudi Arabia.
The generally successful two days of bidding saw a total of seven properties taken by the more than 40 participating companies. Perhaps the biggest prize went to Russia's Lukoil and Norway's Statoil
But what should the message be from the American shutout? Probably less than you think. You'll recall that in the first round of bidding in June, only one group -- led by BP
So who's to say that history won't repeat itself? All of the American companies are well aware the of the 115 billion barrels of reserves -- some would say that the number could be far higher -- in Iraq. On that basis alone, and given the events after the June session, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see contracts written by the American companies with the Iraqi government sans the bidding process.
In the meantime, I'd suggest that Fools keep a close eye on activities in this oil-rich country. My favorites among the currently participating companies are Exxon and BP, both of which are solidly managed, with strong futures in Iraq and elsewhere.
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