Iraqi foreign minister: Gazpromneft works in Iraq in compliance with Iraq's Constitution

Iraq has no problem with Gazpromneft, which is operating in Iraq's Kurdistan, as long as the company observes the country's Constitution, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said.

"Companies may work everywhere they want as long as their operations are transparent and are within the Iraqi Constitution," he said in an interview with Interfax responding to an interview as to whether Iraq has any problem with Gazpromneft due to its operations in Iraq's Kurdistan.

When asked whether his words mean that Gazpromneft operates within the Iraqi Constitution and there are no problems with it regarding that issue, Zebari answered in the affirmative.

Kurdistan is actively signing contracts for the development of oil deposits directly with foreign companies by-passing the Iraqi government. This displeases Baghdad, which previously received part of the revenue from Kurd oil.

In this regard, the Iraqi authorities are making complaints about the companies that operate simultaneously in Iraq and in Kurdistan. For example, the Iraqi authorities said after acquiring France's stake in the projects Taza, Harir and Safen in Kurdistan that Total should either withdraw from the new projects in Kurdistan or sell its share in the project Halfaya in Iraq.

The U.S. companies ExxonMobil and Chevron are also operational in Kurdistan.

Gazprom Neft is the only Russian oil company operating in Kurdistan. It operates under a product sharing agreement on the units Garmian and Shakal. Gazpromneft also has a project in Iraq, where it heads a consortium of foreign companies operating on the Badra deposit.

The administration of Gazrpomneft said it is currently "capable of working simultaneously with the administrations of Iraq and Kurdistan." The administrations of Iraq and Kurdistan have not made any complaints to Gazprom Neft for its simultaneous operation in both regions.

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