Chevron silent on Kurdish block deal

US oil giant Chevron has been awarded a stake in an oil block in Kurdistan which was recently relinquished by a smaller player after a well came up dry, according to a report.

The supermajor has won a slice in the Qara Dagh Block, Reuters quoted Kurdish Energy Minister Ashti Hawrami as saying on Thursday.

"We informed [the central Iraqi government in Baghdad] that we awarded [Chevron] a field called Qara Dagh," Reuters quoted him as saying.

"It is an important and big exploration project. We've agreed all the terms."

Reuters said Chevron's vice president for business development, Jay Pryor, met with Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"During the meeting, Chevron expressed strong commitment to all its projects in Kurdistan," he said, according to the news wire.

A Chevron spokesperson said the company does not discuss specific business opportunities, adding: "Chevron continues to evaluate potential opportunities that help Iraq achieve its objectives for the oil and gas industry, while meeting our criteria for investment."

Canadian-listed Niko Resources handed back the Qara Dagh Block to the Kurdistan Regional Government in November after drilling a dry hole.

Niko and its partners, privately-held Vast Exploration and Canada’s Groundstar Resources, relinquished the block after failing to find a suitable farm-in partner to carry out further exploration.

Kurdistan's awarding of production sharing contracts to international oil companies has put it and the companies at loggerheads with authorities in Baghdad, most notably ExxonMobil.

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