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Kurdish government gets oil payments

ERBIL, Iraq, May 6 (UPI) -- The Iraqi Finance Minister confirmed the first oil export payment to contractors in the Kurdish region, the regional government said.

Kurdish Prime Minister Barham Salih said the federal government in Baghdad confirmed payment to the Kurdistan Regional Government for revenues derived from the export of 5 million barrels of oil early this year.

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"This is a significant and welcome step forward for the Kurdistan Region and Iraq," he said. "I am pleased that the KRG and its contractors are making an important contribution to Iraq's oil output and thus to the revival of Iraq's economy."

The payment of $243 million to contractors in the three northern Kurdish provinces of Iraq is the first for Baghdad, which had disagreed with the Kurdish government in Erbil over oil payment issues.

Salih added that the deal was part of an interim agreement brokered between the KRG, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the federal government's Oil and Finance Ministries.

"It augurs well for the timely passage of a federal hydrocarbons law, a federal revenue sharing law and the other federal oil legislation," he added.

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The KRG said it exported around 4.5 million barrels of oil through Turkey in April. The government in Erbil said it had an oil export target for 2011 of 200,000 barrels per day.

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