Iraq Warns Total over Kurdistan Deals

Following Total's statement on Friday that it was considering possible investments in Iraqi Kurdistan, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani warned the French major on Sunday that it would bear the "full consequences" if it did.

"The position of the Iraqi government will be the same as with the other oil companies, that no company has a right to sign a contract without the approval of the central government of Iraq," Shahristani told Reuters.

"Any such contract has no standing with the Iraqi government, and the companies have no right to work on the Iraqi territories and they bear the full consequences.

Total Chief executive, Christophe de Margerie, said on Friday that “[Iraqi Kurdistan] is a place where there are important oil and gas reserves and contracts are better [than in Southern Iraq] ... The reward for investment  [in Southern Iraq] doesn’t appear for the moment to be enough.”

ExxonMobil has reportedly been excluded from the fourth energy round because of its deals in Kurdistan.

Total has s smaller presence than Exxon in southern Iraq, but is in negotiations to develop gas projects in Missan [Maysan] province. It has a minority share in the Halfaya oilfield.

"If they don't find it attractive enough, they are most welcome to withdraw from it," Shahristanti responded when asked about Margerie's comments.

(Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg, AKnews)

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