* Iraqi Kurdistan suspends DNO oilfield operations
* Oslo bourse declines comment
(Adds minister, details)
SULAIMANIYA, Iraq, Sept 21 The authorities of
Iraqi Kurdistan said on Monday they were suspending for six
weeks the oilfield operations of Norwegian oil exploration firm
DNO International (DNO.OL).
The Kurdistan Regional Government said in a statement on its
website that reports out of Norway had done it "unjustifiable
and incalculable harm" but provided no further details. It
demanded DNO remedy the damage done to the KRG's reputation.
"All oil exports will cease and DNO shall not be entitled to
any economic interest in the (Kurdish oil contracts) during the
suspension period," Kurdish natural resources minister Ashti
Hawrami said in the statement, which was also published on DNO's
Contacted by telephone while travelling overseas, Hawrami
declined to elaborate.
DNO is one of several foreign companies that has signed
deals with the KRG to develop the semi-autonomous northern Iraqi
The agreements are opposed by the federal Iraqi government,
which has called them illegal, but in a shift Baghdad in June
started to allow exports to flow from two Kurdish fields.
One of the fields, Tawke, which is producing 40,000 barrels
per day to 50,000 bpd, was developed by DNO. The other, Taq Taq,
was developed by Swiss explorer Addax Petroleum, recently bought
by China's Sinopec, and Turkish firm Genel Enerji.
DNO said it strongly rejected a decision by the Oslo Stock
Exchange to publicize information related to the sale of
treasury shares by the company in October 2008.
It accused the exchange of breaching its confidentiality
obligations by releasing the information, causing the media to
publish "speculative, misleading and incorrect information" that
also harmed DNO's reputation.
"DNO is now considering initiating legal actions against OSE
for damages as a result of wilful breach of confidentiality.
The claim for damages may be substantial," the company said in a
statement on its website.
The Oslo bourse declined to comment. "No comment on this
tonight. We will discuss this issue tomorrow," a spokesman said.
On Sept 19, the KRG issued a statement saying it had
facilitated DNO's treasury shares transaction with the intention
of helping DNO to raise the capital required for its projects in
the Kurdish region.
"We wish to make it absolutely clear that neither the KRG
nor any of its ministries, officials, employees or advisers has
benefited directly or indirectly, through DNO or Genel Enerji,
from the transaction or subsequent resale of the shares referred
to by OSE," it said.
(Reporting by Sherko Raouf; Writing by Michael Christie)