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Iraq blames foreign firms for delay in crude export restart from Iraqi Kurdistan region

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CAIRO: Iraq’s oil ministry said on Monday that foreign companies operating in Iraqi Kurdistan were partly to blame for the delay in resumption of crude exports from the region.
Foreign companies, alongside the Iraqi Kurdish authorities, had so far not submitted contracts to the federal oil ministry to revise them and issue new contracts that are in accordance with the constitution and the law, a statement by the ministry said.
The Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline that once handled about 0.5% of the global oil supply is stuck in limbo a year after its closing as legal and financial hurdles impede the resumption of flows from the region.
Reports from OPEC and international secondary sources showed that crude production in the region was between 200,000-225,000 barrels per day (bpd) without the knowledge or approval of the ministry, it added.
Iraq said in March it would reduce its crude exports to 3.3 million barrels a day in the coming months to compensate for having exceeded its OPEC+ quota since January, a pledge that would cut shipments by 130,000 bpd from last month.
OPEC+, whose de facto leader is Saudi Arabia, has highlighted the importance of compliance with the pledged cuts even as oil prices have rallied this year. Brent crude LCOc1 on Monday traded above $86 a barrel, the highest price since November.
“The lack of compliance to the oil policy approved by the federal government risks Iraq’s reputation and endangers its international commitments,” the ministry said.
Turkey halted flows on March 25, 2023, after an arbitration ruling found it had violated provisions of a 1973 treaty by facilitating oil exports from the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan without the consent of the Iraqi federal government.

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