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KRG export outage continues as negotiations falter

Oil companies are beginning to shut down oil production after a landmark arbitration ruling that led Turkey to halt Iraq's northern exports.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani (left) meets with KRG President Masrour Barzani (right) in Erbil on March 14, 2023. (Photo credit: Prime Minister's Office)

SULAIMANIYA - Foreign oil companies in the Kurdistan region have started to shut down production, four days after Turkey halted Iraq's northern oil exports in response to a landmark international arbitration ruling.

Despite dispatching negotiating teams to Baghdad, leaders in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have not been able to strike a deal to resume oil exports with their counterparts in the federal government, and there is no indication a quick resolution can be reached.

"Both sides' proposals have been rejected," said an Iraqi MP who is a senior member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the primary ruling party of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Several officials familiar with the talks said Baghdad leaders are insisting exports can only resume if Kurdistan's oil is sold by the federal government's marketing company, SOMO — a drastic shift from the former status quo, in which the KRG enjoyed independent control of its oil marketing and revenue.

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