Iraq's Shahristani Says Kurdish Oil Halt Hurts Budget

Source: Reuters 4/2/2012, Location: Middle East

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani accused Iraqi Kurdistan of damaging the country's budget by halting its oil exports in the latest clash in a long-running dispute between Baghdad and the autonomous region. Kurdistan widened the feud with Baghdad by halting its oil shipments of around 50,000 barrels per day in protest against what it said was the central government's failure to pay oil companies working there.

"This will cause a budget deficit and the government should act to preserve Iraqi resources," Shahristani told reporters, without giving details on what action the central government would take.

Kurdish oil exports make up a fraction of the OPEC nation's 2.3 million barrels per day shipments, but the payment dispute feeds into a wider conflict between Iraqi Arabs and Kurds over autonomy, oil and land that risks upsetting Iraq's fragile sectarian balance.


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