Reuters reports that Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq has agreed with Baghdad to resume oil exports from the start of February, the Kurdish prime minister Barham Salih (pictured) said, taking the two sides closer to resolving bitter disputes over oil and land.
Around 40 companies, such as Norway's DNO, have invested in Kurdistan, but their revenues have been curtailed by being unable to sell their oil for export, because Baghdad has deemed the contracts they signed to be unconstitutional.
The news of a possible resumption in exports sent shares of DNO up as much as 6 percent on Tuesday.
The office of the Kurdish prime minister said in a statement on Tuesday that the resumption of oil exports from the region was agreed at a meeting on Monday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
There was no immediate confirmation from the Iraqi government, which said last May it had approved a deal with the Kurds and expected Kurdish oil exports to resume quickly. Exports remained blocked, however, while negotiations over forming a new government continued.
One of the other issues is the inclusion in Iraq's draft budget for 2011 of a clause cutting the funds paid to the KRG if it does not export an average of 150,000 barrels per day this year. The budget has not been approved yet by parliament, and the proposed clause drove Kurdish lawmakers to walk out in protest on its first reading last month.
If oil exports resume from the Kurdish region, flows would be about 100,000 bpd and could reach 250,000 bpd by the end of the year, Kurdish officials have said.