TOKYO Dec 17 Iraq is keen to see oil shipped
via pipeline from the northern Kurdish region but any exports
must be approved by Baghdad, Deputy Prime Minister for energy
Hussain al-Shahristani said, after flows on the pipeline started
The Iraqi central government is sticking to the idea of
central control of all oil exports, after Turkey and the Kurdish
Regional Government (KRG) signed a multi-billion-dollar energy
package in November.
In a recent meeting with Turkish officials, "we agreed it is
in everybody's interest to allow exports of crude oil from any
part of Iraq, including the KRG region, to the world, but this
has to be done with the approval of the Iraqi government,"
al-Shahristani told reporters when asked about the newly
Turkey's energy deals with the Kurdish north of Iraq
effectively bypass the central government in Baghdad, which says
independent Kurdish oil exports would be illegal.
Turkey is keen to move the process forward through a
three-way mechanism including Baghdad, but the central
government has for years resisted moves towards direct exports.
Exports without the agreement of Baghdad would be "a
violation of Iraqi sovereignty and ... obviously the Iraqi
government will have to take necessary action to protect its
wealth," al-Shahristani said.
Test flows on the pipeline started on Friday, but no exports
have yet been scheduled, energy sources close to the matter said
(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Michael Urquhart)