Iraq oilmin says Exxon must choose: Southern Iraq or Kurdistan

BAGHDAD Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:13am EST

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BAGHDAD Jan 27 (Reuters) - Iraq has told Exxon Mobil that it must choose between working in the country's southern oilfields or in autonomous Kurdistan, and expects the U.S. oil major to make a final decision in a few days, the oil minister said on Sunday.

"We made it clear to Exxon in the last meeting that the answer we expected from them is to either work in the Kurdistan region or to work in southern Iraq," Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi told reporters in Baghdad.

"Exxon Mobil cannot work in both fields at the same time."

Baghdad says any deals signed with Kurdistan are illegal, but Kurdistan's regional government says the constitution allows it to sign oil agreements with companies like Exxon without permission from the central government.

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