Baghdad, Erbil sign final deal to restart northern oil exports

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Iraq’s federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed a deal to restart northern oil exports on Tuesday, official sources told Reuters.

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani traveled to Baghdad earlier on Tuesday to finalize the agreement with Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani.

A formal request has been sent to Turkey to restart oil exports through an Iraq-Turkey pipeline and “in the next few hours pumping will resume,” a Baghdad government official said.

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Turkey stopped pumping about 450,000 b/d of Iraqi crude through a pipeline from the Fish-Khabur border area to its Ceyhan port on March 25 after Iraq won an arbitration case.

The halted flows account for about 0.5 percent of global oil supply, but the stoppage forced oil firms operating in the region to halt output or move production into rapidly-filling storage tanks, and helped to boost oil prices last week to nearly $80/bbl.

Baghdad had said Turkey violated a joint agreement by allowing the KRG to export oil to Ceyhan without its consent.

Under the deal, Iraq’s state-owned marketing company SOMO will have the authority to market and export KRG oil and the revenues will be deposited in an account at the Iraqi Central Bank under the control of the KRG, two Iraqi government officials said.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Baghdad will have access to audit the account.

Barzani is also set to hold talks with al-Sudani to settle a separate dispute over oil and gas that has dragged on for nearly two decades.

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