U.S. OKs Iraqi purchases of Iranian natural gas to boost U.S. business deals

|By:, SA News Editor

The Trump administration extends by at least three months the 45-day waiver it granted Iraq allowing the purchase of natural gas from Iran, after Iraq's government pledged to buy U.S. oil and energy technology.

The administration says it is using the threat of penalties to help U.S. companies get a head start over European rivals and wean Iran off its dependence on natural gas from Iran, which supplies as much as 45% of Iraq's electricity needs.

An Iraqi official says the additional sanctions exemption will give the government more time to sign with U.S. companies, including General Electric (GE -2%), which is seeking to close on a sale of as much as $15B in power generation equipment.

Honeywell (HON +1.1%) has sought State Department support as it competes to supply equipment for Iraq’s new $2.2B ar-Ratawi gas hub, WSJ reports.

Iraq also is being pressed to sign up to $60B in production, refining and gas processing deals with Exxon Mobil (XOM +1.8%) and award a contract to Chevron (CVX +1.1%) for development of the country's southern oil fields.

Separately, U.S. crude oil is steady so far today after falling to their lowest since Q3 2017 and heading for greater than 10% losses for the week; WTI +0.4% to $46.06/bbl.

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