Kurds attack 'failures' of Baghdad oil ministry
Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Monday launched a scathing counter attack on Baghdad's oil ministry, which it said had squandered "billions of dollars" while failing to generate electricity.
The statement from the Kurdistan region came in reaction to criticism from the oil ministry which described as illegal an agreement signed last week between the regional government and a German energy firm.
"We will not wait on orders from a ministry that has no production and is as unsuccessful as the oil ministry of Iraq, which wasted billions of dollars without providing any electricity and energy services during all the past years," said the statement, quoting Falah Mustafa, head of foreign relations on the Kurdistan ministers council.
"We will continue with the successful oil policy of the Kurdistan (regional) government, from which we are able to provide electricity and oil production for its people," he added.
Talks on the allocation of Iraq's natural resources are deadlocked, and Baghdad refuses to recognise contracts which the Kurdish regional government, based in the northern city of Arbil, has signed with foreign oil companies.
German energy firm RWE announced on Friday it had signed a cooperation deal with the Kurds that would develop the region's gas export infrastructure to create "a route to market for Kurdistan's major gas reserves."
RWE is a key shareholder in the Nabucco project, which aims to bring up to 31 billion cubic metres (1,100 billion cubic feet) of gas annually to Europe through Turkey.
"The cooperation also foresees the negotiation of gas supply agreements to enable gas from the region to be transported to Turkey and Europe via the Nabucco pipeline," the German company said.
The co-operation deal angered the oil ministry in Baghdad, which said in a statement that "no one outside the ministry has the right to sign contracts for the exportation of oil and gas."
Kurdistan halted oil exports in October last year due to a payment dispute with Baghdad.
The oil ministry on May 6 said it had reached a deal with Arbil whereby all revenues would be handed over to SOMO, the Baghdad-based State Oil Marketing Organisation, which deals with sales of Iraqi oil and gas products.
The agreement said Baghdad in return would pay the costs of extraction in Kurdistan, but the deal was never implemented.
© 2010 AFP