Iraq says close to accord with Kurdistan over oil disputes

Representational file photo.

Baghdad ( Iraq is close to resolving its disputes with Kurdistan Region regarding oil exports and revenue sharing, an Iraqi oil ministry official was quoted saying on Wednesday.

Kurdish-run BasNews quoted ministry spokesperson, Assem Jihad, saying that “talks between both sides have made a good progress regarding the oil file, especially after recent meetings between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.

“An agreement has become closer,” Jihad said.

Asked about the contract between the ministry and British Petroleum (BP) to boost production from oil fields in Kirkuk province, Jihad said the government was intent on exporting oil from the province. “Let it be through Turkey or Iran, it makes no difference to us,” he stated.

Sales of oil from Kirkuk stopped after Iraqi forces took over the province’s oil and government facilities in response to a referendum Kurdistan Region held in September for independence from Iraq, which the government in Baghdad deemed unconstitutional.

Kurdish Peshmerga forces took over Kirkuk in 2014 when Islamic State militants emerged to proclaim an Islamic “caliphate” in the country.

Last month, Iraq unveiled plans to export oil from the province through pipelines to Iran

Baghdad has been accusing Kurdistan’s Regional Government of corruption in relation to oil exports from Kirkuk.

Iraq says it sold more than 108 million barrels of oil in January, not including Kirkuk’s output.

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