Oil ex­ports from Iraq’s Kur­dish north to re­sume

The Pak Banker - - I Nternational -

CAIRO: Iraq's newly ap­pointed oil min­is­ter said on Satur­day that oil ex­ports from the coun­try's north­ern sel­f­ruled Kur­dish re­gion would soon re­sume as part of the coun­try's na­tional oil ex­port pol­icy.

The Kurds have sought greater con­trol over oil in their crude-rich re­gion while Baghdad has ar­gued that the oil i s a na­tional re­source, un­der t he cen­tral govern­ment's con­trol.

Iraqi Kurds have uni­lat­er­ally signed more than two dozens oil deals with Western com­pa­nies that are deemed il­le­gal by Baghdad. Ex­ports were halted a few months af­ter they started in June 2009 amid a dis­agree­ment over pay­ments.

Ab­dul-Karim Elaibi told The As­so­ci­ated Press the ex­ports from the Kur­dish re­gion would be re­sumed "in the com­ing few days."

He didn't set a date or elab­o­rate on how the ex­ports would be part of the nation's ex­port strat­egy.

Ear­lier this month, Elaibi's pre­de­ces­sor, Hus­sain al- Shahris­tani, said a dis­pute over how pri­vate com­pa­nies ac­counted for equip­ment costs and other ex­penses for re­im­burse­ment has been set­tled, clear­ing the way for the ex­ports to re­sume.

Al-Shahris­tani, who now holds the post of vice pres­i­dent for en­ergy is­sues in the new govern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Nouri al-Ma­liki, said in com­ments Dec.6 the Kurds were com­mit­ted to ex­port­ing 150,000 bar­rels a day by next year.

Iraq plans to raise ex­ports to 2.25 mil­lion bar­rels a day in 2011, up from 1.9 mil­lion at present. The cur­rent oil ex­ports ac­count for nearly all of Iraq's for­eign cur­rency rev­enues.

The in­crease is as im­por­tant psy­cho­log­i­cally for Iraq as it is eco­nom­i­cally and prac­ti­cally.

The oil-rich nation, which was the birthplace for the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the Petroleum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries, has strug­gled to raise its oil pro­duc­tion and ex­ports af­ter years of sanc­tions and wars left much of the vi­tal sec­tor in poor shape. -Ap

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