Iraqi Kurdish autonomy in talks with several Western oil companies

Oil&Gas Materials 30 January 2013 17:15 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 29 / Trend A.Badalova/

Iraqi Kurdish autonomy is negotiating with "two or three" major Western oil companies to open up new exploration projects, International Oil Daily reported with the reference to autonomy's oil minister Ashti Hawrami. The minister has not disclosed the companies' names.

Talking with the reporters in London, Hawrami said that the talks with the companies are "at an advanced stage", and agreements are expected to be announced "in a month or so."

Hawrami also added that Iraqi Kurdish autonomy is "happy for companies to work" in Baghdad and Erbil.

"We are satisfied with our relationship with all the companies involved [in the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq]. They are not going to go anywhere," Hawrami said.

Relations between the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq and Baghdad deteriorated in October 2011 after US-based Exxon Mobil received permission from the Kurdish authorities on the exploration and production of oil in this Iraqi region. Baghdad considered the deal illegal and warned the company that if it did not abandon the agreement with the Kurds, its deals with the central Iraqi government may be revised.

According to BP, the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq has oil reserves of 45 billion barrels.