The Iraqi Oil Ministry said on Saturday that it will prevent ExxonMobil from participating in the fourth oil licensing round if it does not cancel its contracts with the Kurdistan Regional Government, according to AKnews.
Abdul Mahdi al-Amidi, Director General of the Contracts and Licenses Department, said that Exxon Mobil violated the working laws of the Oil Ministry when it contracted with the KRG.
"The Ministry is waiting for an the official response from the company before it will be completely prevented from working in Iraqi oil fields," Amidi said.
According to the report, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussein al-Shahristani (pictured) gave Exxon Mobil the choice either to work in the West Qurna field or the fields of Kurdistan, thus threatening to cancel existing contracts with the U.S. supermajor.
In the past Baghdad has prevented companies operating in the Kurdistan Region from participating in licensing rounds to develop Iraqi oil fields.
Other supergiant oil companies working in southern Iraq, like BP and Royal Dutch Shell, have held off from moving into Kurdistan Region for fear of antagonizing the Iraqi government.
Meanwhile, Barham Saleh, the prime minister of the KRG insisted that the deal was constitutional.
"The contract that we signed with ExxonMobil is a complete and constitutional contract, and is not against the constitution ... We have different points of view with the officials in Baghdad on a number of issues, but it does not mean that we are acting against the Iraqi constitution."
"If they think that we will abandon our constitutional right to deal with our natural resources, they will be wrong", he added.
(Source: AKnews, AFP)