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U.S. says oil firms should respect Baghdad government

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WASHINGTON — The United States said Monday that oil companies should not bypass Iraq’s central government after authorities in the autonomous Kurdish north signed dozens of deals with foreign energy firms.

“With regard to our own companies, we continue to tell them that signing contracts for oil exploration or production with any region of Iraq without approval from the federal Iraqi authorities exposes them to potential legal risk,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

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The United States has told companies that “obviously they’ll make their own business decisions, but unless and until we have federal legislation in Iraq governing these things — something that we’ve been urging — that there are risks for them,” she said.

Companies including Chevron and ExxonMobil from the United States, France’s Total and Russia’s Gazprom have signed deals with Kurdistan, whose relations with Baghdad have deteriorated due to oil contracts and other disputes.

The central government insists that all contracts are illegal if they did not go through the federal oil ministry.

Earlier this month, Iraq gave Total an ultimatum to end dealings with the Kurdish region or sell its stake in a giant southern oilfield.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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