Iraq wants 'coordination' with Kurds over oil agreements

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, June 2 -- The Iraqi oil ministry, while acknowledging the right of semiautonomous Kurdistan to sign agreements with international oil companies, said it is concerned about the lack of coordination regarding them.

"The Iraqi oil ministry's objection is to the signing of these contracts without any coordination with it or with the federal government," said Asim Jihad, a ministry spokesman.

"We do not know how many contracts exist, their details, or how much of Iraq's oil is being given to the foreign companies, not to mention privileges," Asim told Dubai's Al-Arabiya television, adding that the Iraqi federal government and the oil ministry have "the right to learn of these details."

Asim said the Iraqi constitution stipulates that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) coordinate with the federal government on all oil-related matters but that "unfortunately, this has not been the case."

Asim acknowledged that Article 112 of the Iraqi constitution does grant the KRG the right to sign oil contracts, but he said the document also stipulates that such matters should be coordinated with the oil ministry of the federal government.

Earlier this week, Kurdistan began exporting crude oil for the first time, sending 100,000 bbl from the Taq Taq and Tawke oil fields via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan (OGJ Online, June 1, 2009).

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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