Iraq’s newly appointed oil minister said on Saturday that oil exports from the country’s northern self-ruled Kurdish region would soon resume as part of the country’s national oil export policy.
The Kurds have sought greater control over oil in their crude-rich region while Baghdad has argued that the oil is a national resource, under the central government’s control.
Iraqi Kurds have unilaterally signed more than two dozens oil deals with Western companies that are deemed illegal by Baghdad. Exports were halted a few months after they started in June 2009 amid a disagreement over payments.
Abdul-Karim Elaibi told The Associated Press the exports from the Kurdish region would be resumed “in the coming few days.” He didn’t set a date or elaborate on how the exports would be part of the nation’s export strategy.
Earlier this month, Elaibi’s predecessor, Hussain al-Shahristani, said a dispute over how private companies accounted for equipment costs and other expenses for reimbursement has been settled, clearing the way for the exports to resume.