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 Iraq says Kurdistan oil exports at 116,000 bpd after restart

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Iraq says Kurdistan oil exports at 116,000 bpd after restart  13.8.2012 

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussain al-Shahristani. Photo: Reuters. See Related Links
Iraq's deputy PM says KRG had agreed to 175,000 bpd

August 13,

BAGHDAD,— Iraq's Kurdistan region has delivered 116,000 barrels per day of crude (bpd) since it restarted oil pumping on Aug. 7, Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said on Sunday, adding the amount was below the 175,000 bpd agreed.

Kurdistan halted its crude shipments in April due to a payment disagreement between Iraq's central government and the autonomous northern region which has run its own government since 1991. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) says the central government in Baghdad has failed to pay companies working there.

"Until today, we have received a total of 116,000 bpd of crude oil delivered from the Kurdistan region. This quantity is below the agreed amount of 175,000 bpd in the budget," Shahristani told reporters.

"They should pump more than that total to compensate for the period of time when they halted exports," he added.

Audits should also be carried out on the companies the Kurdistan government says must be paid, Shahristani said.

Kurdish oil exports make up a fraction of Iraq's shipments, but the payment dispute feeds into a wider conflict between Iraqi Arabs and Kurds over autonomy, oil and land that risks upsetting Iraq's fragile sectarian balance.

Shahristani said Baghdad would also review contract terms from its fourth bidding round, which attracted few companies because of less lucrative conditions, to make them more attractive to investors who had won initial deals.

"We admit the service contract terms are tough and are squeezing companies. For this reasons, the last auction was not so successful," Shahristani said.

Iraq's oil output now stands at 3.2 million bpd with the reintroduction of the Kurdish barrels, the deputy prime minister said.

Several oil firms have struck deals with the KRG, angering the Iraqi government which has tried to bar companies from dealing directly with the regional government.

Exxon Mobil became the first oil major to move into the northern region of Iraq in mid-October 2011 when it signed a deal with the KRG.

Shahristani said on Sunday that Exxon had agreed not to start field work in the region without informing Baghdad.

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