Nechirvan in oil & gas talks with Erdogan

Kurdistan Tribune – 28-11-2013 – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) prime minister Nechirvan Barzani met Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara today to discuss expanding energy cooperation.

Barzani confirmed on CNNTurk television that the KRG plans to start pumping oil to Turkey via a Baghdad-controlled pipeline by the end of the year.Bloomsberg reports that Turkey and the KRG are working on contracts to expand the operations of Turkey’s state-backed Turkish Energy Company, which holds exploration licenses in 13 blocks in south Kurdistan, and they are also discussing the construction of a natural gas pipeline.

Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters that Erdogan and Barzani might sign some deals today. Barzani was expected to travel later to meet Iraq central government representatives in Baghdad. Iraq premier Nouri al-Maliki is due to visit Turkey for energy talks next month.

Kurdistan opposition MPs have argued that Barzani does not have the right to sign any deals because he is currently premier of a caretaker administration only while negotiations to form a new KRG cabinet continue, more than two months after the parliamentary elections. In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Kurdistan Islamic Union MP Abu Bakr Hldni said any deal signed with Ankara would be “illegal” in the circumstances. “Barzani’s visit to Turkey to sign the oil pipeline deal is illegal because a caretaker government does not have the right to sign deals of this kind,” he said. However Today’s Zaman reports that no deals were agreed at today’s meeting.