Iraq’s top energy official repeated demands on Tuesday (29th January, 2013) that the country’s autonomous Kurdish region was ‘illegally’ exporting oil, the latest in a long-running dispute between the two sides.
The remarks from Hussein al-Shahristani, who is the deputy prime minister responsible for energy affairs, comes as the central government in Baghdad and Kurdish authorities in Arbil fight over a disputed oil exploration contract with Exxon Mobil and a row over energy deals.
Shahristani said at a news conference in Baghdad that oil is still being illegally exported to Turkey, referring to Kurdish transportation of oil to Turkey in exchange for refined crude products.
Baghdad insists the central government retains the sole right for exporting crude and has threatened to sue companies that transport oil out of the three-province northern region.
Arbil, however, says it has the right to sign deals independent of Baghdad’s authority.
Al-Shahristani also said that Baghdad transferred $ 540 million to Kurdistan for paying foreign energy companies working in the region, but demanded Arbil had not fulfilled its side of a September of 2012 contract by upping exports.
Arbil, however, says it has slashed oil exports because Baghdad has not transferred all of the promised funds.
Both of the sides are at odds over matters including Kurdistan’s rejection to seek central government approval for oil deals it has awarded to foreign companies and over a swathe of disputed territory in northern Iraq.
The Central Government of Iraq regards all oil contracts that did not go through the national oil ministry as illegal.
Source: [Nahar Net]