KRG Denies Exxon has ‘Frozen’ Oil Contract

Ashti Hawrami, the natural resources minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said on Monday that Exxon Mobil is honoring its oil exploration contracts in the region, contradicting the statement from Baghdad’s Oil Minster, Abdul Kareem Luaibi [Elaibi], who said the deal had been frozen.

“What comes out of Baghdad is about 90 percent, with respect, rubbish,” Hawrami said, adding that he regional government hears from Exxon Mobil on an “almost daily basis”.

According to the report from Bloomberg, an Exxon Mobil spokesman said the company had no comment regarding contracts in Kurdistan.

“It’s a loss for Iraq if they continue with this madness of this policy,” said Hawrami. “It has to be resolved in a few weeks and months ahead.”

He said the Kurds will resume the shipments when they get a “clear understanding” that Iraq will pay for the oil.

The Kurdish region is producing about 100,000 barrels of oil a day after cutting off the shipments, with most of the product refined and consumed locally, Hawrami said.

In response to accusations that oil is being smuggled into Iran, Harwami said it was transported through Iran as other routes were not available at the moment.

The Kurdistan government is seeking contractors to build a crude-oil pipeline from Kurdistan through Turkey, Hawrami said. Construction would start this year and be complete by late 2013, he said.

(Source: Bloomberg)

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