Iraqi Kurdish region to resume oil export

21:18, December 07, 2010      

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Iraq's Oil Minister Hussien al- Shahristani said Monday the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq will resume crude oil exports early next year.

"The problems between Baghdad and the (Kurdish) region are supposed to be resolved and they will start to export crude oil in early next year," Shahristani told reporters at a news conference in Baghdad.

He said that the Kurdish regional government (KRG) committed to export 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the next year.

Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the Kurds have independently signed nearly two dozen deals with western oil companies. Baghdad said they are illegitimate because they bypass the central government.

In June 2009, the KRG started oil exports of around 100,000 bpd for the oil fields of Taq Taq and Tawke in northern Iraq, but were suspended a few months later when the central government refused to pay the foreign firms and said the Kurds should pay from their share of the national budget.

Iraq's oil crude exports are mainly extracted from the country' s southern fields and fewer amounts from oil fields of Kirkuk in northern the country.

Last year, Iraq held two energy auctions and signed contracts to develop a total of 12 oil fields across the country, aiming at giving the country the potential to increase its oil output capacity, which is currently at roughly 2.5 million bpd, to 12 million bpd in six or seven years.

Iraq previously said it has plans to export 2.25 million bpd next year, up from the current about 1.9 million bpd.

Earlier this year, Iraq announced its proven oil reserves have increased to 143.1 billion barrels rising from the previous estimation of 115 billion barrels.

Source: Xinhua


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