Kurds, Baghdad could agree this month on energy deals: Turkey

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 03, 2013 5:00 AM

ANKARA (Reuters) - Iraqi Kurdistan and the central government in Baghdad, at loggerheads over oil exports and revenue sharing, could come to an agreement this month over energy deals, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Tuesday.

Yildiz travelled to Baghdad on Sunday and met Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for energy Hussain al-Shahristani, part of efforts to appease the central government following a multi-billion dollar deal Turkey clinched last week with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

"The KRG and the central government in Baghdad could come to an agreement about the energy contracts in December," Yildiz told reporters.

Turkey's energy deals with the Kurdish north of Iraq effectively bypass the central government in Baghdad, which claims sole authority to manage Iraqi oil and says independent Kurdish oil exports would be illegal.

Turkey is keen to move the process forward through a three-way mechanism which also includes Baghdad. But the central government might prove hard to persuade, having for years resisted Arbil's moves towards direct exports.

A new pipeline from Kurdistan's Taq Taq oil field is complete and ready to receive flows, the enclave's natural resources minister Ashti Hawrami said on Monday. It is expected to carry around 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, which Hawrami says will be ramped up towards 1 million bpd by 2015.

(Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall)