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ExxonMobil & PetroChina Eye $53-Billion Megaproject in Iraq

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Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) and Chinese energy giant PetroChina Company Limited (PTR - Free Report) are planning a megaproject worth $53 billion in Iraq, a significant oil producer and an OPEC member. The project is expected to boost hydrocarbon output in the country using seawater from the Persian Gulf.

ExxonMobil is expected to ramp up production from Iraq’s southern oilfields around Basra and capture natural gas that is flared in the process. The largest publicly-traded energy company and PetroChina will likely develop Nahr Bin Umar and Artawi oilfields in the country, as well as boost production from these fields from almost 125,000 BPD as of now to 500,000 BPD. Also, the company ExxonMobil is anticipated to process around 100 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day from these fields.

Around 10,000 jobs are expected to be generated through this project while the government of Iraq can get $400 billion in revenues over the life of the deal. The interested parties included in the deal are yet to discuss the procedure via which profits will be divided. Notably, ExxonMobil has two subsidiaries operating in the country. In 2013, one of these subsidiaries had signed an agreement with a PetroChina affiliate to work in the West Qurna I project in Iraq. The recent deal will further increase ExxonMobil's footprint in the country. 

Price Performance

ExxonMobil has lost 1.8% in the past year compared with 10.4% collective decline of the industry it belongs to.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Currently, ExxonMobil carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Prospective players in the energy space worth considering include Hess Corporation (HES - Free Report) and Apache Corporation (APA - Free Report) , each holding a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.  

Hess’ earnings are expected to grow 90.5% through 2019.

Apache beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters, with average positive earnings surprise of 31%.

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