Kurdistan to continue Iraq oil exports
until Sep 15
Decision to give Baghdad more time to make payments.
Kurds have said ready to restart negotiations with
September 2, 2012
Kurdistan region 'Iraq',— Iraq's Kurdistan will keep
pumping its share of national oil exports until
Sept. 15, extending a deadline for the central
government to make disputed payments to companies
working in the autonomous region, Kurdish sources
said on Saturday.
Kurdistan had warned it would stop oil shipments
again at the start of September over the payments,
but two Kurdish sources said the region had decided
to give Baghdad more time for payment paperwork to
be sorted out.
"We decided to extend the deadline for pumping crude
to Sept. 15 as a goodwill gesture, and to give
Baghdad more time to resolve the payment issue," one
source with Kurdistan's natural resources ministry
The extension signalled tensions were easing in
Baghdad's long-running feud with Kurdistan over oil
rights, territory and power-sharing, a dispute that
is testing the country's uneasy federal union.
In April Kurdistan halted exports, saying Baghdad
had not made payments to companies working there,
but it restarted shipments on Aug. 7 with a warning
they could be halted again in a month if there were
Iraq says Kurdistan's oil shipments have fluctuated
around 100,000 to 120,000 barrels per day since they
restarted, below the 175,000 bpd that Baghdad says
was agreed with Kurdistan.
"We want to send a message to Baghdad that we in
Kurdistan are keen to help boost Iraq's exports. If
the reply on the message was positive, then we will
increase export levels from the region," the source
Iraq approved a payment of close to $560 million to
oil producers operating in the north in return for
their investment costs to develop oilfields in the
Kurdish region. But officials are still waiting for
Kurdish authorities say due payments that should be
approved by central government could reach $1.5
billion, two Kurdish sources said.
Kurdish oil exports make up a fraction of Iraq's
shipments, but the payment dispute feeds into a
wider conflict between Iraqi Arabs and Kurds over
autonomy, oil and land that risks upsetting Iraq's
fragile sectarian balance.
Kurdistan is ready to restart talks with Baghdad to
end the crisis by agreeing a long-delayed oil law to
hand regions more say in managing energy resources,
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Rosh Nuri al-Shawish,www.ekurd.net
The positive tone from Shawish signalled the Shi'ite-led
central government and self-governed Kurdistan may
be edging towards resolving their disagreements.
The dispute is part of a broader political crisis in
Iraq, where a fragile power-sharing arrangement
between Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs is
struggling to overcome deep splits.
Autonomous since 1991, Iraq's Kurdistan runs its own
government and armed forces, but relies on the
central government for its percentage of the
country's oil revenues from the national budget.
Iraq, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC), has the world's
fourth-largest oil reserves, and is seen as a major
source of new oil.
By Ahmed Rasheed - Reuters
Copyright ©, respective author or news agency,
does not take credit for and is not responsible for the
content of news information on this page