Genel Energy unfazed by Iraqi woes

March 21, 2013 at 7:00 AM
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LONDON, March 21 (UPI) -- The divide between the Kurdish and Iraqi governments over oil is growing, though Genel Energy head Tony Hayward said Kurdistan was a good investment.

The Iraqi government this month passed a budget without Kurdish leaders, who expressed frustration when the budget passed with $650 million for northern oil developments against the $3.5 billion they wanted.

Kate Dourian, Middle East editor for energy reporting agency Platts, said the budget law has made internal divisions more severe.

"The gap between the two sides is now wider than before," she told the BBC.

The sides are at odds over jurisdiction in the energy sector. The Iraqi government considers unilateral deals with semiautonomous Kurdish areas illegal. The dispute has interfered with Kurdish oil experts.

Hayward, Genel chief executive officer, said he was unfazed by the internal political dynamics in Iraq.

"We're going to get to a place where people realize this is too big an opportunity for all of Iraq," he told the BBC.

Genel received permission Jan. 7 from the Kurdistan Regional Government to ship crude oil from the Taq Taq field by truck to Turkey. Export restrictions had been in place as a sign of growing frustration with the central Iraqi government over oil laws in the country.

Genel Energy said that in the first two weeks of January it produced on average 89,000 barrels of oil per day in Iraq.

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