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Iraq government official welcomes Kurdish, Turkey energy deal

Dec. 16, 2013 at 8:11 AM

BAGHDAD, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Iraqi Deputy Energy Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said the central government welcomed an energy agreement reached with Kurdish and Turkish officials.

Shahristani said the deal, in which the Kurdish government in northern Iraq will supply oil to Turkey through a cross-border pipeline, is an opportunity to diversify the Iraqi energy sector.

"We support [the deal] and seek to increase our oil and future natural gas exports to Turkey," he said in an interview published Sunday by Turkey's official Anadolu news agency.

The Kurdish government said in a Dec. 3 statement the terms of the deal with Turkey called for a pipeline from the Taq Taq oil field in the Kurdish north to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. It would be able to export 1 million barrels of oil per day by 2015.

The central government had objected to other deals reached with the semiofficial Kurdistan Regional Government. Both sides are at odds over who controls what aspects of the Iraqi energy sector.

The minister said any oil sales to Turkey must be disclosed to the central government and all revenues generated from them must be deposited into a national fund in New York established under the terms of U.N. Security Council mandates on the country's energy sector.

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