February 16, 2015 / 3:52 PM / 5 years ago

Iraq's KRG PM threatens to withhold oil exports without budget share

Iraq's Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani speaks at the Iraq-Kurdistan Oil and Gas Conference at Arbil in Iraq's Kurdistan region, December 2, 2013. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government may withhold crude oil exports if Baghdad does not send its share of the budget, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said on Monday following talks aimed at resolving the dispute.

“If they don’t send the budget, we won’t send oil,” Barzani said in comments published by Rudaw online newspaper.

He said the KRG remained “fully committed” to the temporary oil export agreement reached in December, but that Baghdad had only offered to send $300 million, “less than half of what we agreed on earlier”.

The KRG agreed in December to export 550,000 barrels per day of oil from its own fields and Kirkuk via Baghdad’s state marketer SOMO. In return, Baghdad would reinstate budget payments to the Kurds, which it cut in 2014 as punishment for the region’s moves to export oil independently.

Reporting By Stephen Kalin, editing by David Evans

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