From Kurdistan 24

Authorities in Iraq have not yet resolved a dispute regarding agreements signed by Russian energy giants Rosneft and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for assets in the region, Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Haidar Mansour Hadi said earlier this week.

Despite objections from the Iraqi government, the Russian energy giant has continued to sign deals with the KRG, most recently on May 25 when it announced it had signed an agreement to develop the Kurdistan Region’s oil and gas infrastructure.

The deal, made at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, included the design of a new gas pipeline which could boost oil production in the Region up to 10,000 additional barrels of oil per day (bpd) by the end of 2018.

According to Hadi, the signing of energy deals between Rosneft and the KRG “contradicts” the Iraqi Constitution.

“In accordance with our constitution, only the central, Baghdad government has the authority to sign such contracts, and so those ones are illegal,” the Iraqi official stated on Tuesday.

In October 2017, the Russian state-owned company signed major contracts with the KRG to develop five oil blocks.

The deals were made not long after the Kurdistan Region’s Sep. 25 independence referendum was held which resulted in increased tensions between Erbil and Baghdad.

Despite escalating tensions in the region, both Rosneft and Russian President Vladimir Putin have affirmed their commitment to investing in Kurdistan, claiming they see “no roadblocks” in strengthening ties.

“Our companies, especially Rosneft, are working in the [Kurdistan Region],” the Russian President previously said during his annual end-of-year press conference in December.

“We believe this will benefit Iraq, Kurdistan, and, in particular, it benefits the Russian economy.”


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