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Iraq Lawmaker Janabi Says No Rules Prevent Exxon-Kurdistan Deal

Iraq’s legislation doesn’t prevent oil companies from signing deals with the central government and with semi-autonomous authorities in the North, as in the case of Exxon Mobil Corp., said Adnan al-Janabi, chairman of the nation’s Oil and Energy Committee.

The country’s new energy law has been under study for about five years amid divisions among the country’s major political factions. Al-Janabi said yesterday he expected a first reading of the law in Iraq’s parliament next month.

“With or without the law, I don’t think there is anything to constrain any company from operating anywhere in Iraq,” Janabi told reporters in London today. “I don’t see any legality in announcing anyone as being blacklisted.”

The Baghdad government has refused to recognize production-sharing agreements signed by Kurdish regional authorities with foreign companies without its approval. Hussain al-Shahristani, deputy prime minister for energy affairs, said last month the Iraqi government was “weighing measures” that may be taken against Exxon after it signed contracts the government considers illegal with authorities in the Kurdish region.

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