Iraq And Exxon Mobil Yet To Reach Agreement On Southern Oilfields

The Iraqi Oil Minister has disclosed that an agreement is yet to be reached with oil major Exxon Mobil with regards to a couple of southern oilfields. According to Jabar al-Luaibi, the Iraqi Oil Minister, if an agreement is not reached by February next year, other firms would be invited to take up the project.

Two months ago Luaibi had indicated that the Middle Eastern country was in discussions with the Irving, Texas-based oil major with a view to developing the multi-billion dollar project located in the southern oilfields. Facilities requiring to be developed include storage, oil pipelines as well as seawater supply amenities since water is required to be drawn from the Gulf and injected into reservoirs in order to enhance production.

Outside directors

The revelation that Iraq and Exxon Mobil are yet to reach an agreement on the southern oilfields projects comes in the wake of the oil major ending a prohibition which prevented outside directors from meeting with shareholders. The decision came a few days after the board of Exxon Mobil had acceded to calls by shareholders to annually review the risks of climate change to the company’s business.

In a statement the biggest oil firm in the United States said that the change was made by the board in order to let members directly engage with key shareholders as well as address areas of common interest. Previously shareholder communications with the board of Exxon were funneled through a website run by the oil major.

More accommodating

For years the board of Exxon has come under pressure from investors who were unhappy with company policy which prevented independent directors from directly speaking with shareholders. BlackRock Inc, a top asset manager, earlier in the year disclosed that during the annual meeting of Exxon held on May 31, it had voted against two of the company’s directors. This was to protest against the policy.

At the beginning of the month some investors indicated that they were considering challenging the policy during next year’s shareholder meeting. This was in a letter that was signed by the State Treasurer of Illinois, Michael Frerichs as well as other shareholder representatives. On learning of the change Frerichs hailed the move saying it was good for investors. He also called for other changes in governance.

“The next step is to revise the director-nominating process, director compensation, and executive pay to ensure that ExxonMobil is well-positioned to address climate-related risks and capitalize on fresh, innovative ideas,” said Frerichs.

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