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Gazprom makes Kurdistan entrance, risking Badra

The Russian energy giant is the latest major company to snub Baghdad and enter Kurdistan's oil sector, putting its development of the Badra field in jeopardy.
Alexander Kolomatsky (left) of Gazprom shakes the hand of then-Deputy Oil Minister Abdul Karim Luaibi following the initiaing of the Badra oil field contract in 2010. (BEN LANDO/Iraq Oil Report)

Gazprom Neft has signed two oil contracts with Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, joining the parade of major companies that have defied Baghdad's claims of primary oil sector authority.

The Russian firm, a division of the giant Gazprom, is now the third company - following ExxonMobil and France's Total – to sign deals in Kurdistan without the Oil Ministry's blessing, despite the risk of losing an existing project in southern Iraq. Gazprom is the operator of the 300 million barrel Badra field, under a contract awarded by the Oil Ministry in 2009.

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