* Maliki says will never allow unilateral Kurd oil exports
* Turkish diplomat summoned over Kurd oil export row
* Kurdish delegation due in Baghdad later this week
(Adds Turkish consul summoned, Kurdish delegation due)
By Suadad al-Salhy and Alistair Lyon
BAGHDAD, Jan 12 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri
al-Maliki threatened on Sunday to cut Kurdistan's share of the
federal budget if the autonomous region exports oil to Turkey
via a new pipeline without central government consent.
The Kurdistan Regional Government said last week that crude
had begun to flow to Turkey and exports were expected to start
at the end of this month and then rise in February and March.
"This is a constitutional violation which we will never
allow, not for the (Kurdistan) region nor for the Turkish
government," Maliki told Reuters in an interview.
He reiterated Baghdad's insistence that only the central
government has the authority to manage Iraq's energy resources.
"Turkey must not interfere in an issue that harms Iraqi
sovereignty," Maliki said.
The central government and the Kurds differ over how to
interpret the constitution and share revenue from the world's
fourth-largest oil reserves. The Kurds are in theory entitled to
17 percent although they frequently complain they get less than
Maliki said the Kurds had not met their budgeted commitment
to export 250,000 barrels per day of oil in 2013, with the
revenue going to the national treasury, but that so far the
government had not retaliated by reducing their share of the
"We did not do that as we did not want to affect the Kurdish
people and we were looking to find acceptable solutions...that
would preserve national unity and the national wealth, but this
year the situation looks difficult," Maliki declared.
Referring to a dispute over the costs of oil companies
operating in Iraqi Kurdistan, he said: "We have been telling
these companies...give us the oil and we will pay your costs,
but they did not deliver, so there will be no payments."
Maliki said it was unfair to expect Baghdad to pay the oil
firms' costs plus the Kurds' 17 percent budget share, when they
had failed to meet their export target and oil revenue was not
being channelled through the government.
Crude from Kurdistan used to be shipped to Turkey through a
Baghdad-controlled pipeline, but exports via that channel dried
up a year ago from a peak of around 200,000 bpd due to a row
over payments for oil companies operating in the region.
Since then, the Kurds have been exporting smaller quantities
of crude to Turkey by truck whilst laying their own independent
pipeline, which was completed late last year.
Maliki met with Kurdish members of the Iraqi parliament
later on Sunday and said he wanted to resolve the dispute
through negotiation. A delegation from Kurdistan is due in
Baghdad later this week to study the issue.
TURKISH ENVOY MEETING
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain
al-Shahristani summoned Turkey's consul in Baghdad on Sunday and
reiterated his objection to Ankara's role in exports from
Shahristani also said that Ankara had prevented
representatives of the Iraqi oil ministry from supervising
exports from Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, as
"The government of Iraq holds the Turkish side legally
responsibility for this act and reserves the right to demand
compensated all damages resulted," Shahristani said in a
Iraqi Kurdistan has prospered over the past decade, largely
escaping the violence that has afflicted the rest of the country
following the U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Officials in Baghdad say the pipeline sets a dangerous
precedent for other Iraqi provinces to pursue their own
independent oil policies, potentially leading to the break-up of
Iraq. U.S. officials have echoed that view.
Kurdish leaders publicly say they are committed to remaining
part of a federal Iraq, rather than seeking secession, but oil
is a highly sensitive issue in volatile relations with Baghdad.
Companies that have risked exploring for oil in Iraqi
Kurdistan had welcomed its plans to pipe oil to Turkey as a
signal they might begin to generate export income from their
investments, despite Baghdad's objections.
Those companies include Gulf Keystone, Genel Energy
, Norway's DNO, Hungary's MOL and
Britain's Petroceltic and Afren.
(Additional reporting by Isabel Coles in Arbil, editing by