Kurdish leaders talk oil, gas in Russia

Feb. 21, 2013 at 6:49 AM

MOSCOW, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The president of the semiautonomous Kurdish government of Iraq arrived in Moscow to discuss prospects for oil and gas cooperation, said Russia's Gazprom.

Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller met in Moscow with Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

"The parties discussed the prospects for bilateral cooperation deepening in the oil and gas sector," a Gazprom statement read. "In particular, the meeting addressed potential interaction between Gazprom and Kurdistan's oil and gas companies in geological exploration, development and operation of oil and gas fields."

Gazprom Neft, the energy company's oil subsidiary, is one of the major oil companies working on exploration blocks in the Kurdish north of Iraq.

Disputes over national oil laws have cast a shadow over the Iraqi energy sector. The central government in Baghdad says working with the Kurdish government may be illegal.

The Kurdish government in December said production from the semiautonomous region could add at least $8 billion to the Iraqi treasury. It halted oil production in the past, however, because of ongoing political disputes with Baghdad.

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