The oil majors in Iraq have complained about their slim margins on existing service contracts, as well as infrastructure and security problems and delays in securing bureaucratic approval, but Chinese companies have not. When oil companies have tried to sell their stakes in giant fields, they found the Chinese NOCs the only ones willing and able to take on large stakes in service contracts of this scale. The interest of Asian companies for opportunities in Iraq is not new. All four auctions for oil and gas fields in Iraq rewarded ‘new players’ from Asia.
In Abu Dhabi, too, Asian companies are hopeful of new deals. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (ADNOC’s) historic partners anxiously await the renewal of the concession agreements due in 2014 and 2018. And, there are growing signs that the political leadership wants to forge relationships with new partners. While the US has long been a crucial ally for Abu Dhabi, the Emirate has also built a strategic relationship in the energy sector with Japan and more recently, with South Korea. Amidst uncertainty about concession renewal, Japanese and Korean companies received positive indications about their prospects.
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