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Baghdad Bans Kurdish Engineering Company from Kirkuk Oilfields

Baghdad Bans Kurdish Engineering Company from Kirkuk Oilfields

Monday, 8 January, 2018 - 13:15
The Iraqi parliament banned the Kar Group from operating Kirkuk oilfields. (AFP)

The Iraqi parliament voted on Monday on a binding decision that obligates the Ministry of Oil to ban the operation of a Kurdish engineering firm from operating in Kirkuk oilfields.

The ban targeted the Kar Group, following Iraq’s recapture of the Kurdish-held oil region in October.

The Kurds have withdrawn from most Kirkuk oilfields since October but the vote came after lawmakers said the Kar Group refused to cooperate with Iraq’s state-run North Oil Co. (NOC) and hand back the Khurmala oilfield.

The Kurds claim Khurmala is located inside the official boundaries of the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government KRG.

Kar Group could not be immediately reached for comment.

Parliament also authorized NOC to take over production and export operations at the field. That will potentially increase Iraq’s oil production and crude exports, although it was unclear by how much.

A parliamentary source said on condition of anonymity that an investigation committee will be formed of energy, integrity and financial committees in order to probe the amount of exported oil.

In addition, parliament requested the Iraqi central bank to track down cash deposited at banks outside Iraq that had been generated from Kurdish oil exports.

It asked the central bank to draft a detailed report on the names of banks used to deposit the cash.

Kurdish Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani condemned the Iraqi parliament’s ban as “unjust,” saying that he was ready to provide Baghdad with all the information on the selling and production of oil in the region.

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