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Iraq seeks financial agreement with Kurds before pumping crude to Turkey

A worker checks the valve gears of pipes linked to oil tanks at Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which is run by state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS), some 70 km (43.5 miles) from Adana February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq will not resume pumping crude through a Kurdish pipeline to Turkey unless it reaches a financial agreement with the Kurdish regional government, the Iraqi oil minister said on Tuesday.

Adel Abdul Mahdi confirmed on his Facebook page that the central Iraqi government had decided to stop pumping crude from fields under the management of its state-run company in northern Iraq through the pipeline.He said state-run North Oil Company previously fed 150,000 barrels a day into the pipeline that carries crude from the Kirkuk fields and other reservoirs managed by the Kurdish authorities to the Turkish Mediterranean terminal of Ceyhan.

“We have two options” in order to resume pumping, the minister said, demanding either a return to a previous oil agreement between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), or making a new agreement.

The previous agreement provided for the KRG to transfer to Iraq’s central state oil marketing company 550,000 barrels a day of crude produced in the Kurdish region, in return for a 17 percent share in the federal budget, he said. The Kurds stopped all oil transfers to the government in September 2015, at which point they also stopped receiving government funding, he added.

Reporting by Saif Hameed, writing by Maher Chmaytelli, Editing by Mark Trevelyan