ISTANBUL, (Reuters) – Oil exports from Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region will start only after the formation of a new Iraqi government, the region’s natural resources minister said.
Parliamentary elections were held on March 7 but produced no outright winner. A vote recount in Baghdad and coalition building talks have prolonged the formation of a new government.
Kurdistan and Iraq’s central government have been at loggerheads for months over oil deals Kurdistan signed independently with foreign firms. The Arab-led government deems the deals illegal and refuses to pay firms involved such as Norway’s DNO and Turkey’s Genel Enerji.
Oil exports from Kurdistan stopped last year, but Iraq’s deputy oil minister said last week that a deal between Baghdad and the Kurdish region to restart oil exports could come within days.
The deal, designed to help restart exports ahead of the formation of the new government, however is unlikely to take effect, Kurdish Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami told Reuters late on Sunday.
“Will the interim agreement will be pushed through? I don’t think so, wait until the government is formed. I think export will happen as soon as the formation of the government,” he said.