UPDATE 1-Kurdistan chief says Gazprom Neft signs new oil deal-Ifax

Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:42am EST

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* Baghdad angry over Kurdistan deals with foreign companies

* Gazprom Neft has contracts both with Kurdistan and central government (Adds detail, quote)

MOSCOW Feb 19 (Reuters) - The president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was quoted on Tuesday as saying that the autonomous region of Iraq had signed new agreements in recent days with Russia's fifth-largest oil producer, Gazprom Neft.

The deals may increase friction between KRG and Baghdad, which insists that only it has the authority to grant oil contacts and control crude exports in the country.

"We are satisfied with Gazprom Neft's work in the region. New agreements have been reached with this Russian company in recent days," Masoud Barzani was quoted as saying by news agency Interfax, which didn't report any details.

A spokesman for Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of world's top oil company, Gazprom, declined to comment.

Gazprom Neft acquired interests in two Kurdistan blocks last August. That followed moves by international oil firms to develop fields in the autonomous region that angered the central Iraqi government in Baghdad.

The Russian company also has a contract for the Badra oilfield, controlled by the government.

Industry insiders have said that Kurdistan offers more lucrative conditions - under production sharing agreements - than the central government. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)

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