DNO says no pay schedule in place for Kurdish oil
Baghdad, July 18, 2009
DNO International said it did not yet have a payment arrangement for oil produced from its Tawke field in Iraq's Kurdistan, which has been running since June and pumps 40,000 barrels per day (bpd).
The Tawke field will soon produce 50,000 bpd, Kurdish authorities say.
DNO started exports last month from the largely autonomous Kurdistan region through Iraq's northern pipeline, despite a bitter dispute between the Iraqi government in Baghdad and Kurdish authorities over oil contracts the Kurds signed independently with foreign firms.
The Oil Ministry says such contracts are illegal and that the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) must pay the companies out of its own 17 per cent share of the national budget, a condition it is unlikely to agree to.
"We will report to the market when the payment arrangement is in place, and in the meantime we can only refer to KRG on this issue," DNO chief executive Helge Eide told Reuters in an email.
He added that, even with a payment schedule in place, "payment would normally not be received before a month or so".
DNO signed an exploration deal with the Kurdish authorities soon after the 2003 US-led invasion. Another field that started producing in Kurdistan last month, Taq Taq, developed by Addax Petroleum and Turkey's privately-owned Genel Enerji, faces the same uncertainty over payment.
It is pumping 20,000 to 40,000 bpd. Analysts think the Oil Ministry's position is largely posturing and that Baghdad will find a way to pay the companies, but that admitting it is politically difficult.-Reuters