18 January 2014, News Wires -Iraq is reported to be preparing legal action against the Ankara government over Kurdish exports of allegedly “smuggled” oil via a new pipeline to Turkey and has also vowed to punish foreign companies.
Revealing the move on Friday, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said his government would blacklist any companies dealing with oil piped to Turkey from Iraq’s autonomous northern region without permission from Baghdad, Reuters reported.
The Kurdistan Regional Government said last week that crude had begun to flow through the pipeline, and exports were on track to start at the end of January, inviting bidders to register with the Kurdistan Oil Marketing Organisation.
Luaibi said it was not in Turkey’s interest to jeopardise bilateral trade worth $12 billion a year, saying Baghdad would consider boycotting all Turkish companies and cancelling contracts with them if the oil exports went ahead.
He also said the Finance Ministry had been told to calculate how much should be deducted from Iraqi Kurdistan’s 17% share of the federal budget if the region failed to meet a government-set export target for this year of 400,000 barrels per day via the State Oil Marketing Organisation.
Preparations were under way, Luaibi said, “to raise a lawsuit against the Turkish government for allowing Kurdistan to pump oil through the export pipeline without the approval of the Iraqi central government, which represents… a clear violation of the agreement signed between the two countries… governing the export of Iraqi oil through Turkey”.