Kurdistan has not agreed to export crude via Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO), a spokesman for the autonomous region’s government said contradict¬ing earlier comments by a top energy official in Baghdad.
Hussain al-Shahristani, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister for Energy had said in an earlier televised inter¬view that the Kurds had agreed to export through SOMO, which would have removed a major sticking point between them over oil exports.Kurdistan’s prime minister and top energy official travelled to Bagh¬dad intensifying efforts to settle the long-running dispute over exports of oil from the region via a new inde¬pendent pipeline to Turkey.
However, Safeen Dizayee, Kurdistan Regional Government spokesman said that was not the case. “Absolutely we have not reached any agreement to export oil via SOMO. The dialogue and discussions are still underway”. Dizayee described the talks as “useful” and said Kurdistan now awaited a written response from Baghdad to unspecified proposals made by the Kurdish delegation.Baghdad has repeatedly threat¬ened to sue Ankara and slash Kurd¬istan’s share of the national budget if exports go ahead through the pipeline without its consent.
The pipeline was completed late 2013, and oil has since been pumped through it into storage tanks at Tur¬key’s Ceyhan, but exports from the Mediterranean port are on hold to give diplomacy a chance.