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Iraq Considers More Actions Against Exxon for Kurd Oil Venture

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq is considering additional measures against Exxon Mobil Corp. over deals the company signed with the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussain al-Shahristani said.

The Oil Ministry is “studying other measures” against Exxon after requiring the company to reduce its involvement in the West Qurna-1 field last year. Authorities in Baghdad have received a reply from the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, on proposals for ending an impasse over oil exports from the region, al-Shahristani told reporters today in Baghdad.

“Exxon violated Iraqi law, they were informed about that, and Iraq started to take measures regarding it,” Shahristani said. Now, the “ministry is studying other measures for violating Iraqi laws,” he said.

Iraq’s Kurds have halted crude flows via the national export pipeline to Turkey amid a dispute with authorities in Baghdad on the legality of deals the Kurds signed with international companies, such as Exxon and Total SA. The KRG has announced plans to sell crude it has pumped through its own new pipeline to Turkey.

Shahristani didn’t give details of the KRG’s response to the central government’s proposals for settling the dispute.

National oil production is also being constrained by insufficient storage space in the south, Shahristani said. Iraq will be unable to maintain production levels at full capacity of 3.5 million barrels a day unless it increases handling capacity at the southern port of al-Faw, Shahristani said.

Iraq pumped as much as 3.524 million barrels on one day in January, he said. Monthly production in January was 3.05 million barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The nation said it pumped an average 2.85 million barrels in direct submissions to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in a report that was released today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Khalid Al-Ansary in Baghdad at kalansary@bloomberg.net; Kadhim Ajrash in Baghdad at kajrash@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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