Kurdish President Massoud Barzani (R) and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (L) open a ceremonial valve during an event in Erbil to mark the official start of oil exports on June 1, 2009. Those exports would soon stop amidst political disagreements, but a January 2011 deal with central government leaders has re-started the flow of Kurdish oil to market. Despite objections from Baghdad, the Kurds continue to sign oil deals with international companies, most recently with the American firm Hess and Ireland's Petroceltic. (SAFIN HAMED/Reuters)
American oil company Hess Corp. and its Irish partner Petroceltic International finalized two production contracts for blocks in Iraq's Kurdistan region, the latest of more than 40 oil deals signed by the Kurds despite unresolved disputes with Baghdad over oil development rights.
Both Hess and Petroceltic announced the agreements, which will see Hess as the operator and, according to a Hess statement, "64 percent participating interest and 80 percent paying interest in the blocks, located northeast of Erbil," the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
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