Oil giant to scale back Middle East operations

Oil giant to scale back Middle East operations
Oxy is to pull out from 'troubled parts' of the Middle East and concentrate its operations on just three core countries - UAE, Qatar and Oman.
2 min read
19 January, 2016
Security costs for oil companies are high in countries such as Iraq [AFP]

One of the Middle East's biggest oil producers has announced that it will pull out of "troubled markets" in the region, as the IMF forecasts slow global growth and oil prices are expected to tumble even further.

Occidental Petroleum, better known as Oxy, said the move will allow it to concentrate resources on three key markets: Qatar, Oman and the UAE.

The countries it looks as though it will be leaving behind include war-torn Iraq, Libya and Yemen - and troubled Bahrain.

"We have plans to exit out of those and we expect by the end of this year, we should have most of that done," said Vicki Hollub, who will become the group's new chief executive in April.

In Iraq, Oxy is already pulling out of the Zubair oilfield in the south, with Baghdad expected to takeover, Abu Dhabi-based The National reported.

In countries such as Yemen, Oxy is also expected to sell assets to other firms.

And as for Libya? "We haven't really defined or disclosed what our exit strategy is right now, so that's one of the options that will probably take longer," The National reported.

Oxy has also been looking at other areas where it can cut costs and increase efficiency, and low oil prices are expected to continue until at least 2017, having a heavy impact on governments and companies in oil-producing states.

But workers in its three "core" Middle East markets should be safe.

"When people ask about us selling down in the Middle East, that's not going to happen to those three core areas because we need the cash flows," Hollub added.