Iraqi Kurds to resume oil exports in Feb
Arbil, January 18, 2011
Iraqi Kurdish authorities have agreed with their Iraqi counterparts in Baghdad to resume halted oil exports from their region "at the start of February," the office of the Kurdish prime minister said.
A statement issued to Reuters by the office of regional Prime Minister Barham Salih said the resumption of exports from the region was agreed in a meeting on Monday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki.
There was no immediate confirmation from the Iraqi government, which said last May it had approved a deal with the Kurds and expected Kurdish oil exports to resume quickly.
The statement from Salih's office said the deal on oil was part of a broader agreement to resolve all outstanding issues between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
One of the other issues is the inclusion in Iraq's draft budget for 2011 of a clause cutting the funds paid to the KRG if it does not export an average of 150,000 barrels per day this year.
Kurdish officials have said that they only expect to be able to provide 100,000 bpd in exports in 2011.
Kurdish exports from two fields -- Taq Taq and Tawke- flowed briefly in 2009 but were halted when the Iraqi government refused to pay the oil companies working the fields, including Norway's DNO and Turkey's Genel Enerji.
The Oil Ministry in Baghdad views independent deals signed between the companies and the KRG authorities as illegal.
Under the deal approved by Baghdad last May, the companies would be compensated for their exploration expenses but Iraq would not cover their profits.
It was not immediately made clear what the terms of Monday's deal might have been. – Reuters