Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
Page added on March 29, 2013
Ten years after the invasion of Baghdad, major American oil companies are staying away from investing in Iraq’s oil resources, McClatchy’s Sean Cockerham reports.
Instead, many of Iraq’s newest oil fields are now controlled by Chinese.
Iraq possesses the second-largest oil deposit in the world, in the West Qurna region. Forbes says the country could easily become the second-largest oil producer in the world after Saudi Arabia.
Only Exxon and Occidental have active stakes in Iraqi oil fields. The reason for America’s relative absence, Cockerham writes, is that the country is still too unstable.
Chinese firms don’t seem to mind that as much, he says: one third of all future Iraqi oil production is expected to come from Chinese-owned fields.
There are in fact many U.S. drillers, including Halliburton, operating in the fields themselves, Cockerham notes.
But folks like Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Suncor are nowhere to be seen.
This does not mean the U.S. is not receiving zero oil from Iraq. We still import more than 173 million barrels of oil from there a year.
But that’s actually not all that much — about 4.4 percent of our entire import base, according to EIA data.
And that’s down from about ten years ago — once the country’s economy came back online — when we were taking in 240 million bby.
It’s certainly not the situation many predicted we’d be in in 2013.