Kurdish leaders in Iraq permit oil exports

Jan. 10, 2013 at 10:17 AM

ERBIL, Iraq, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Turkish energy company Genel Energy said it was authorized by the Kurdish government in northern Iraq to start crude oil deliveries to Turkey.

Genel Energy spokesman Andrew Benbow confirmed to Bloomberg News that the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq was authorizing exports from the Taq Taq oil field.

The semiautonomous Kurdish government in Iraq's northern provinces last month halted crude oil exports because of disputes with the central government in Baghdad. A natural resources adviser for the Kurdish government wouldn't comment to Bloomberg on the resumption of exports to Turkey.

Both governments are at odds over control of oil in the country. Baghdad says unilateral contracts with the Kurdish government are illegal. The Kurdish government said it wouldn't export oil through a central pipeline network until Baghdad settles issues regarding payments from international oil companies working in the northern provinces.

Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said at a regional oil and natural gas conference in December that production from the semiautonomous region should add at least $8 billion to the Iraqi treasury. In 2013, he said, the region should export, on average, 250,000 barrels of oil per day.

December exports from Iraq's southern ports declined 172,000 bpd last month to 2.02 million bpd. Rough weather in the Persian Gulf region left some storage units idle, limiting storage capacity for southern oil fields, the Platts news service reported.

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