Chinese state oil trader Zhenhua Oil Corp has emerged as the frontrunner in a tender to buy Iraqi crude for five years, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.
The company has submitted the "most competitive bid" in the tender held by Iraq's state oil marketer SOMO that attracted participation from international oil companies, trading houses and Chinese and Indian refiners, the source said.
"Many international oil firms participated in this SOMO tender and the work is still in process," said Zhenhua Oil.
Iraqi government spokesman Hassan Nadhim told reporters on Tuesday that the oil ministry was still studying the offers. The winner of the tender will pay SOMO about $2.5 billion in return for 48 million barrels of crude between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.