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How Iran might win the Middle East oil game

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Vahid Salemi/AP/File

(Read caption) An Iranian oil technician checks the oil separator facilities in Azadegan oil field, near Ahvaz, Iran.

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Instability in Libya and other parts of North Africa may be giving international investors the jitters. In August, U.S. energy explorer Apache Corp. said it had enough of the political upheaval in Egypt and  sold a portion of its assets there to its Chinese counterpart, Sinopec. In neighboring Libya, Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell said they'd had enough of the unrest, though Italy's Eni and Spain's Repsol weren’t so squeamish. To the west, in Algeria, while BP and Statoil remained resilient, BG Group and ConocoPhillips said they'd take their business elsewhere. With much of the region in a static state of upheaval, Iran could be the unlikely winner of the post-Arab Spring energy prize.

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