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Oil company hails Iraqi political deal

Nov. 11, 2010 at 9:16 AM

OSLO, Norway, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Developments in breaking an eight-month impasse in Baghdad could open to door to oil exports from the northern Kurdish region, a Norwegian oil company said.

Iraqi political leaders reached a power-sharing agreement late Wednesday that gives incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a second term in office, the Sunni-backed Iraqiya slate the speaker of parliament and Kurds the presidency in a new Iraqi government.

Helge Eide, chief executive officer at Norway's DNO International, told Bloomberg News the development was a potential breakthrough for his company's work in Iraq.

"If we're able to get a viable government in place I believe everyone, including the Kurds, will have the issues that are important to them heard," he told Bloomberg. "And we know what position they've taken with regards to oil exports."

The new government would have to settle lingering disputes over oil and gas reserves in the country. The autonomous Kurdish government and the central government in Baghdad are at odds over the issue.

Kurdish lawmakers last year halted oil exports after a payment row with foreign companies like DNO that were doing business in the oil-rich north.

Eide said his company could resume full production at the Tawke oil field in the Kurdish region "quite quickly" once it gets approval to resume its work.

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