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Kurdistan PM Expects Iraq to Start Paying Foreign Companies

Iraq’s Oil Ministry should pay foreign companies working in Kurdistan after having received oil export statements from the semi-autonomous province, said Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Barham Salih.

The KRG has presented the federal Finance Ministry with an oil export statement for the delivery of more than 5 million barrels of oil since shipments resumed Feb. 3 after a halt of more than a year, he said in a release on the KRG website.

“The KRG expects to receive from Baghdad its first payment for the Kurdistan Region contractors, as previously agreed with Prime Minister Nuri Maliki,” he said. The KRG also received a draft of the oil and revenue sharing law for its review, he said.

The Kurdish authorities had angered the central government by signing their own production agreements with foreign companies such as DNO International ASA (DNO) of Norway and Turkey’s Genel Enerji AS. The Oil Ministry refused to recognize these contracts, and exports of Kurdish oil that began in June 2009 ended a few months later amid a payments dispute. The foreign companies are still owed $400 million to $500 million in unpaid revenue.

About 115,000 barrels a day of oil is currently being pumped from Kurdistan for export through a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussain Al- Shahristani said in Paris on April 6.

More Facilities

The KRG is ready to discuss with the central government the construction of new pipelines and facilities to export more oil and natural gas to Turkey and Europe, Salih said in the statement. The Iraqis were in discussion with Turkish authorities over details of plans to ship oil from the southern Iraqi provinces to Turkey and Europe, he said.

The KRG has also agreed to help resume electricity imports from Turkey to Iraq’s northern Mosul governorate, he said.

Frequent outages across Iraq hamper reconstruction, and protests over unreliable electricity supplies have made the issue a major concern of the government. Iraq’s power plants and distribution system have suffered through years of conflict, sanctions and sabotage.

Iraq, home to the world’s fifth-biggest oil reserves, needs foreign investment and expertise to help ramp up energy exports and rebuild an economy shattered by years of conflict, economic sanctions and sabotage. The country has signed 15 oil and gas licenses since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted the regime of former President Saddam Hussein.

Kurdistan PM Expects Iraq to Start Paying Foreign Companies -  Source

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