IRAQ & KURDISTAN AGREE
Iraqi and Kurdistani officials are expected to reach a deal in the coming days to resolve a dispute over Kurdistan's use of Turkish pipelines to export their oil.
The Kurds have sent more than 1 million barrels of oil through a new pipeline into storage tanks at Ceyhan in Turkey. But Baghdad wants to keep the trade under its control, and Ankara is awaiting Iraq's blessing before allowing exports to begin.
Talks between Baghdad and the Kurdistan government in Arbil have yet to produce a deal, but Luaibi said the Iraqi parliament had set up a high-level delegation several days ago to resolve the problem.
"The task of this delegation is to secure agreement between the two sides, and I believe they will secure this agreement," he said at an oil and gas conference in Ankara.
"The parliamentary council will hold talks on this subject within hours, and even if there is no agreement today, I expect an agreement within a couple of days," he said.
Autonomous since 1991, Kurdistan has often chafed against central authority but relies on Baghdad for a slice of the OPEC producer's $100 billion-plus budget.
For Turkey, Kurdish oil will help diversify its energy supplies away from Russia and Iran and reduce a ballooning $60 billion energy bill.
Meanwhile, the flow of oil from Iraq to Turkey on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline halted at the start of March. Luaibi said the interruption was due to militant attacks in several places and a technical problem at a facility in Turkey.
"We are trying to resolve these problems. I believe flow will resume within one week," he said.
Iraq wants to double the oil flow to Ceyhan to more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) with the construction of a second line.
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