Crude oil exports will resume from Kurdish oilfields by Feb. 1 after a suspension of almost one-and-a-half years, said Barham Salih, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.
"[We had a] productive meeting with [Iraqi] Prime Minister [Nouri al-Maliki and we] agreed to resume oil exports from Kurdistan by Feb. 1," Salih said on microblogging service Twitter following a meeting with Maliki in Baghdad Monday.
Salih also agreed with Maliki to resolve "outstanding issues on oil, budget," he said.
The Kurdish oil minister Ashti Hawrami, who was present with Salih in the meeting in Baghdad, had said that they could resume oil exports of 100,000 barrels a day now to be increased gradually to 200,000 barrels a day by the end of 2011.
Exports could be resumed from two oil fields--Tawke that was developed by Norway's DNO International ASA (DNO.OS) and Taq Taq which is operated by Turkey's Genel Enerji.
Kurdish oil exports started in June 2009 and increased up to around 100,000 barrels a day, but were halted not long after because the Kurdish and Iraqi Baghdad governments couldn't agree on how foreign companies behind the oil exports should be financially compensated.
The other outstanding issue that also needs to be solved between the Kurds and Baghdad government is scores of production-sharing agreements signed by the KRG with a string of foreign companies. Baghdad has said that these deals are null and void because they are yet to be approved by the central government, while the Kurds argue that they are in line with the new Iraqi constitution.
Iraq's Kurdish region is believed to be rich with oil reserves but development has been stalled by disagreement between the Arab-led government in Baghdad and the semi-autonomous Kurdish authorities over revenue.
Copyright © 2011 Dow Jones Newswires