The Financial Times reports on Thursday that Shell has pulled out of oil-development talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in an effort to protect lucrative investments in southern Iraq,.
The newspaper cited people familiar with the discussions as saying Baghdad is seeking to impose a de facto ban on companies operating in Kurdistan.
Following Baghdad's threat to cancel an existing oil field contract with ExxonMobil, Shell's move is considered precautionary, in order to protect its $17 billion natural gas deal that has just been approved by Iraq's cabinet.
"Baghdad's real power lies in denying future contracts and Shell still had something else on the table. They still had not signed the southern gas field deal," said one person familiar with the talks, cited in the article.
(Sources: Financial Times, Reuters)