* Ankara and Baghdad at odds over fugitive vice president
* Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan also at odds
* Turkey aims to increase involvement in Iraq energy sector
By Evrim Ergin and Ozge Ozbilgin
ISTANBUL/ANKARA, Nov 9 Turkey is set to reject a
company's application to import natural gas from northern Iraq
after it failed to produce the necessary purchase agreement in
time because of political tensions, energy officials told
Turkish company Siyahkalem Ltd had applied to energy markets
watchdog EPDK to import gas between 2014-2033, starting with
annual volume of 700 million cubic metres and rising to 3.2 bcm.
The firm had to deliver a purchase agreement to the
regulator within 90 days after the EPDK initially ruled that its
application was acceptable, but it failed to do so, the
"The political developments being experienced between Turkey
and Iraq and between the central Iraqi government and the
Northern Iraqi Kurdish government had an impact in the failure
to secure the agreement," one of the Turkish energy officials
Turkey has been developing its interest in the Iraqi energy
sector, despite tensions with Baghdad after Ankara gave refuge
to Iraq's fugitive vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi, who has
been sentenced to death by an Iraqi court.
Iraq has also asked Turkey to stop attacks on Kurdish rebel
forces sheltering across the border in northern Iraq, a Kurdish
autonomous region over which Baghdad has little control and with
which Ankara has forged close ties in recent years.
Iraq's cabinet said on Wednesday it was expelling Turkey's
state-owned TPAO from its exploration block 9 oilfield for an
unspecified reason, although denying it was prompted by any move
by the Turkish company into Kurdistan.
According to regulations on obtaining a natural gas import
licence in Turkey, companies have to present a contract from the
supplier country and company to prove that the resource will be
Sources close to Siyahkalem said the firm had asked for
additional time from the regulator but that the regulator had
not responded yet and the process was continuing.
(Writing by Daren Butler and Seda Sezer)