Maliki gov’t warns KRG on oil deals with Turkey

Maliki gov’t warns KRG on oil deals with Turkey

BAGHDAD - The Associated Press
Maliki gov’t warns KRG on oil deals with Turkey

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is at odds with the KRG over oil revenues. AP photo

Iraq’s central government warned authorities in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq yesterday that their oil deals with Turkey must have Baghdad’s approval.

The statement came a day after Iraqi Kurds announced a deal with Ankara that would allow them to export oil through Turkey to the international market, bypassing Baghdad. “We have no problem with any deals, but they have to be according to the Iraqi constitution and laws that govern relations between Baghdad and the Kurdish region,” said Ali al-Moussawi, media adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The KRG and the Baghdad government are at loggerheads over the right to develop and export the north’s natural resources. Baghdad says the region has no right to sign deals unilaterally and that exports must go through state-run pipelines, but Kurds argue that the constitution gives them the right to sign deals without consulting Baghdad.

Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, KRG have signed scores of oil deals. Baghdad considers the deals illegal and has blacklisted the companies involved. On May 20, Kurdish Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami announced plans for building a million-barrel oil pipeline in the next 12 months for oil to go through Turkey, as well as another pipeline for gas. He also announced plans to barter crude oil with refined petroleum products. Iraq sits on top of 143.1 billion barrels of proven reserves.