US VP Biden calls Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani to discuss oil conflict

WASHINGTON – The Associated Press – 10.1.2014 – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged the president of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to work with the governments of Iraq and Turkey to resolve a conflict over the region’s oil.

Biden called President Massoud Barzani on Jan. 9, the same day his Kurdish regional government announced it has unilaterally started sending crude to Turkey. Iraq’s government and Kurds in northern Iraq are locked in a long-running dispute over oil rights.

The White House said Biden encouraged Barzani to talk with Baghdad to develop a way forward. Biden has been working the phones this week as violence flares in Iraq two years after the U.S. pulled out troops. He has spoken twice with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and once with a leading Sunni lawmaker. KRG announced on Jan. 8 that the first crude has started to flow through the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region’s new pipeline across Turkey and the first independent exports are expected to begin at the end of this month. The monthly export parcels will then increase to 4 million barrels and 6 million barrels in February and March respectively, it said. The monthly exports are estimated to reach 10-12 million barrels next December.