Baghdad approves resumption of Kurdistan oil exports

10 February 2010

Exports unconnected to disputed oil contracts

Baghdad has instructed Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Company to resume oil exports from the Kurdish region after it agreed to the semi-autonomous authority’s proposed payment method, according to Reuters reports.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told reporters on 9 February finding a solution to the contracts would take a long time, but Iraq expects to resume oil exports from the Kurdistan region in “the coming days”. The resumption of exports has no connection with finding a solution to disputed oil contracts, Al-Shahristani added however.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) proposed that the Iraqi government pay international oil companies operating in the region directly for the revenue to pass through Kurdish authorities.

In June 2009 Iraq’s Oil Ministry approved a request from the KRG to send 60,000 barrels-a-day (b/d) of crude oil to the Iraq export pipeline. However, exports had been stopped for several months following disagreements over the KRG’s independent signing of contracts with international companies, such as Norway’s DNO.

The region has the capacity to export some 100,000 b/d of crude oil from the two producing fields, Tawke and Taq. KRG Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami expects Kurdish production to reach 250,000 b/d in the first half of 2010.

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