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Iraq Warns Russia's Gazprom Over Kurdistan Oil Deals

Source: Reuters 11/9/2012, Location: Middle East

Iraq has warned Russia's Gazprom Neft to quit oil deals with the country's autonomous Kurdistan or pull out of its contract for the Badra oilfield, a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain Shahristani said.

Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom, in August acquired interests in two blocks with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) following moves by rivals like Exxon and Total which angered the central Iraqi government in Baghdad.

"Iraq sent a letter to Gazprom at the end of October asking the company for an official reply, that it should cancel deals signed with KRG or pull out completely from Badra oilfield," Faisal Abdullah said.

Last year Gazprom said it expected to start production at Badra with 15,000 barrels per day in August 2013. The field with 100 million barrels of reserves near Iran's border is operated with Turkey's TPAO, Korea's Kogas and Malaysia's Petronas.

Gazprom Neft Chief Operating Officer Alexander Dyukov declined to comment.

Exxon was the first major to sign oil deals with Kurdistan and is now at the center of a dispute over oil and territory between the Arab-led central government and ethnic Kurds, who have run their own administration in northern Iraq since 1991.

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