Turkish Minister: Turkey Considers Interests of Iraq in Cooperation With Kurdish Autonomy

Turkishweeklynet 7.8.2012 – Turkey considers the interests of Iraq in oil cooperation with Kurdish autonomy and will not take actions that will concern the central government, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said on Monday, the newspaper Zaman reported. “The cooperation with the Kurdish administration in the energy sector will be coordinated with the central government. We will not take steps contrary to the interests of Baghdad,” Yildiz said. According to the minister, Turkish TPAO carries out projects in southern Iraq worth $5 billion.

Earlier, spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry Asym Jihad told Trend, that Baghdad will apply sanctions against Turkish companies, if any of them sign an oil and gas agreement with the Kurdish government without the permission of the central government.The relations between the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq and Baghdad deteriorated in October 2011 after a US-based Exxon Mobil received permission from the Kurdish authorities on exploration and production of oil in this Iraqi region. Baghdad considered the deal illegal and warned the company that if it did not abandon the agreement with the Kurds, it deals with the central Iraqi government may be revised.According to BP, Iraq’s proven oil reserves amounted to 143.1 billion barrels as of late 2011.The country ranks third in OPEC after Saudi Arabia and Iran. According to BP, oil production in Iraq amounted to 2.798 million barrels per day in late 2011.

The Kurdish administration in northern Iraq has oil reserves of 45 billion barrels. www.turkishweekly.net