December 3, 2012 / 7:36 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Kurdish oil exports halve - industry sources

(Adds context, background)

ARBIL/LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil exports have halved to around 100,000 barrels per day in recent days, industry sources said, in what could be a result of its long-running dispute with Baghdad over payments to oil firms operating in the region.

An Iraqi oil official said on Monday the autonomous region had told Iraqi state oil firm SOMO that exports were reduced because operators were “facing some technical problems that will take some time to address”.

An industry source in the region’s capital Arbil confirmed that exports have been reduced to around 100,000 bpd.

Turkish energy sector sources reported last week that Kurdistan’s oil exports to Turkey had fallen after its dispute with the Iraqi central government in Baghdad had led to a sharp decline in output.

Regional sources have said Kurdistan is not getting enough refined oil products to run its power stations under supplies controlled by the central government

In April, Kurdistan halted shipments of its oil in protest over what it said were overdue payments from the central government to companies in the Kurdish region.

Baghdad made an initial payment to the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) in October, but a subsequent payment is now overdue and Iraq’s deputy prime minister for energy, Hussein al-Shahristani, recently said it would not be made.

The oil payment dispute is part of a feud over control of oil and contested territories that has dragged in major companies such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total .

Baghdad rejects the deals signed between Kurdistan and oil companies as illegal and has blacklisted some that have ventured into the northern Kurdish region.

Kurdistan says its right to grant contracts to foreign companies is enshrined in the Iraqi constitution, drawn up following the 2003 invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein. (Reporting by Isabel Coles and Peg Mackey; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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