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Iraqi Kurdish oil exports to resume Monday under Baghdad supervision

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Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region is to resume oil exports through Turkey Monday, but in the future, they will be supervised by the federal government in Baghdad, officials from both sides said, Agence France-Presse reported.

The outcome, thrashed out in talks between federal and regional officials, spells the end of independent oil exports by the Kurdish regional government, and marks a clear limit to its autonomy.

Ankara stopped handling Iraqi Kurdish oil last month after an international tribunal ruled in a nine-year-old dispute that Baghdad was right to insist on overseeing all Iraqi oil exports.

“Sales of Kurdistan crude will be managed from now on by the State Oil Marketing Organization,” a federal government official told AFP on Saturday.

A “joint committee” formed by the federal and regional governments will supervise the export process, the official added.

Revenues will be paid into an account “overseen by Baghdad,” a Kurdish official said.

The halt to exports through a pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan had left foreign oil firms with nowhere to pump Kurdish oil.

Norway’s DNO, one of the main firms operating in Iraqi Kurdistan, announced it was halting production at its wells.

Prior to Ankara’s action on March 25, the autonomous region was exporting roughly 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude.

Oil exports are the key revenue source for both the federal and regional governments and their management has long been a sensitive topic in relations.

The Kurdistan government sees Baghdad as trying to profit from the region’s resources, while the Iraqi government argues it should enjoy sovereign control over all of the country’s oil production.

Iraq, the second largest producer within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), exports an average of 3.3 million bpd.

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