Genel Says Kurdistan Crude Exports to Turkey Continue

Source: Reuters 1/18/2013, Location: Middle East

Genel Energy said it continued to export crude from Kurdistan to Turkey by truck, days after Iraq's oil minister said Baghdad intends to sue the company for doing so.

Baghdad's Arab-led government is involved in a dispute with Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous part of northern Iraq, over territory, oilfields and political autonomy and sees Kurdistan's direct exports of crude to Turkey as illegal.

"We are today exporting oil to Turkey in accordance with the authority granted to us by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)," Genel's Chief Executive Tony Hayward said in a statement.

Iraq claims it has the right to take legal action against companies exporting crude independently of the central government and its oil minister Abdul Kareem said that Baghdad plans to sue Genel.

Genel, whose boss Hayward is the former head of oil major BP and whose main producing asset base is in Kurdistan, did not comment on the legal threats from Iraq in an operational update published later.

The company said that it expected to post revenues of $330 million (206 million pounds) for 2012, higher than its previous guidance of $250 million to $300 million, having received a $132 million payment from the KRG for unpaid historic export revenues.

Exports to Turkey via truck, which started earlier in January after the KRG halted crude exports via the Baghdad-controlled pipeline, could grow to around 20,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) in the next six to eight weeks, Genel said, repeating what Hayward had said earlier in the month.

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