Iraqi Kurds Shut Down Oil Exports

Posted December 25th, 2012 at 9:25 am (UTC-5)
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Iraq's ongoing feud with its semi-autonomous Kurdish north is taking a toll on the country's oil exports.

Iraqi officials say the Kurds have suspended all oil shipments. An adviser to the Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources confirmed the stoppage to The Associated Press, citing a payment dispute with the central government in Baghdad.

Iraqi Kurdish officials say the central government has only paid them a fraction of a promised $1.5 billion under a previous agreement.

A spokesman for Iraq's deputy prime minister for energy affairs told The Associated Press payments had been suspended because the Kurdish region had fallen short on its oil deliveries.

Iraq and its semi-autonomous Kurdish region have been arguing over oil exports, oil deals with foreign companies and land rights. The Kurds have repeatedly halted crude oil shipments as part of those disputes.

Iraq sits on one of the world's largest reserves of crude oil and exports about 2.6 million barrels a day. Iraqi officials are hoping to boost exports to 2.9 million barrels a day next year.