The Iraqi central government does not oppose gas deals between Kurdistan Region and Russian giant Rosneft, Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani was quoted saying Tuesday.
Kurdish-owned BasNews website quoted Barzani saying, during a press conference following a cabinet meeting, that “the contract signed with Rosneft is a trade issue”, adding that the document “had been signed within the frame of the Iraqi constitution that grants Kurdistan the right to explore and export oil”.
Concerning oil exports from Kirkuk province, a region where Baghdad and Erbil grapple for sovereignty, Barzani said “we have told Baghdad we were ready to export Kirkuk’s oil, with revenues to be collected by (the Iraqi oil marketing company) SOMO, but Baghdad has not answered the proposal yet”.
Iraqi ambassador to Moscow, Haider Mansour Hadi, had made statements expressing objection to an agreement reached between Kurdistan and Rosneft, deeming it at odds with the Iraqi constitution. The agreement, signed in May, involves cooperation in development of gas pipelines.
Relations deteriorated between Baghdad and Erbil following a vote held in Kurdistan in September 2017, in which a majority voted for independence from Iraq. Iraqi forces took over energy facilities in the areas disputed with Kurdistan in response. Iraqi officials had accused Erbil’s government of corruption in relation of energy exports from the region.