Iraq’s Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has said in an interview with news agency AFP that Iraq will honour production-sharing contracts that the Kurdish regional authorities have signed with foreign companies.
Shares in Norway’s DNO, which has production in the region, rose 7% on the news.
The report was not confirmed by the Oil Ministry and according to Reuters seemed to catch senior Iraqi oil officials by surprise.
Exports from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region were stopped following a prolonged dispute between Iraqi Kurdistan and the Arab-led government in Baghdad over the legality of contracts awarded by the Kurds to foreign companies.
“The oil ministry accepted these contracts because the nature of the extraction in Kurdistan is different from Basra,” Maliki told AFP in an interview on Saturday, referring to Iraq’s oil-rich southern province.
“There is a need for bigger efforts there, while in Basra it (oil) is closer to the surface. It’s difficult to have service contracts in Kurdistan but it’s normal to have them in southern Iraq,” he added.
An Iraqi senior official close to Maliki and other officials contacted by Reuters on Sunday said they were not aware of any decision to accept these contracts. Iraq’s Oil Ministry did not comment.
(Sources: Reuters, AFP)