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Kurds warm to oil exports from Iraq

  |   May 17, 2010 at 10:09 AM
ERBIL, Iraq, May 17 (UPI) -- Oil from the Kurdish provinces of Iraq could technically begin soon, though the decision ultimately lies in developments from Baghdad, officials said.

Oil from the Kurdish regions of Iraq halted after just four months of exports in 2009. Khalid Salih, a spokesman for the Ministry of Natural Resources in the Kurdistan Regional Government, said both governments in Iraq "technically" agreed to resume oil exports, the Kurdish Globe newspaper reports.

Iraq is still without a federal law governing the oil and gas sector in the country. Meanwhile, no government has emerged from March 7 elections for the Council of Representatives.

The Kurdish and central governments have been at odds over oil deals signed with foreign companies. Baghdad says any independent deal with the KRG is illegal.

Baghdad ministers, however, said both sides reached agreements in revenue and other financial issues on the sidelines of licensing rounds for international oil companies last week.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said his Kurdish counterparts, however, might not receive "full authority" to develop independent oil contracts "because (oil) is a national treasure that belongs to all Iraqis."

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