Kurds threaten legal action over oil sales

Federal government isn't sharing revenue, Kurds say.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  July 10, 2014 at 9:16 AM
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ERBIL, Iraq, July 10 (UPI) -- The Kurdish government of Iraq said it may take legal action against any entity buying oil from the federal government because of constitutional issues.

The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq said it's entitled under provisions in the national constitution to 17 percent of all oil sales made by the federal government.

"The federal Oil Ministry and State Organization for Marketing of Oil continue to sell and to seek to sell oil, gas and other petroleum products to third parties, and to retain the full proceeds of such sales, all in violation of the KRG's express constitutional and legal rights, and without the participation or approval of the KRG," the Kurdish government said in a statement Wednesday.

Because the federal government isn't sharing revenue, the Kurdish government said buyers are also complicit in the violations and therefore may be subject to legal action.

The Kurdish government has sent several shipments of oil to the Turkish sea port of Ceyhan. Only one cargo has been sold through a ship-to-ship transfer and all exports are considered illegal by the federal government.

A report from the U.S. Energy Department this week said Kurdish north of Iraq produces about 200,000 barrels of oil per day while southern Iraq produces 2.8 million bpd.

Both governments in Iraq are at odds over who controls what aspects of the oil sector.

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