Iraq oil minister plans company to handle Kurdistan oil operations

Talks between central government and the Iraqi Kurdish region on oil issues have reached a positive understanding

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. A workerss sprays disinfectant on valves as a preventive measure against coronavirus, at Nahr Bin Umar oil field, north of Basra, Iraq March 15, 2020.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A workerss sprays disinfectant on valves as a preventive measure against coronavirus, at Nahr Bin Umar oil field, north of Basra, Iraq March 15, 2020.

REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani

BAGHDAD - The Iraqi oil minister has proposed forming a company to manage oil production and export operations in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, state news agency INA reported on Tuesday.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and central government in Baghdad have been locked in a long-running dispute over oil and land rights in the northern Iraqi Kurdish region.

Talks on oil issues between the government and authorities in the Iraqi Kurdish region had reached a "positive understanding", Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said, according to INA.

The proposed state company's management would be technically and administratively linked to the Kurdish regional authorities and federal Oil Ministry, he said, adding that it would be similar to state-run firms in Iraq's crude producing provinces.

An Oil Ministry official told Reuters talks between oil officials from Erbil and Baghdad had made progress but more time was needed to reach a final agreement.

The semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq is still exporting oil without consulting the Iraqi federal government, the minister had said in September.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed, editing by Louise Heavens) ((ahmed.rasheed@thomsonreuters.com; +964-7901-947-131; Reuters Messaging: ahmed.rasheed.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net))

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