Iraq's Kurdish region resumes crude oil pumping

August 8, 2012 - 3:39 PM

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq (AP) — Iraq's self-ruled northern Kurdish region has resumed pumping crude oil earmarked for export through the central government's pipeline after halting it for four months over a payment dispute.

The region's Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami said Wednesday the pumping started the day before, planning to reach 100,000 barrels a day in the coming two days.

In 2011, a tentative deal was reached between the two administrations to allow the Kurds to send crude to Baghdad, which then sells it. Each side takes 50 percent of the revenues. But pumping was stopped in April by the Kurds, who claimed that Baghdad failed to send them the money.

The Kurds and Baghdad are in a long-running dispute over the right to develop the region's resources.

Also Wednesday, Iraqi Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said Iraq was resuming shipments of oil to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan at an average rate slightly above 350,000 barrels per day.

An explosion Monday in Turkey forced authorities to shut down a pipeline carrying Iraqi oil to global markets. It was the second such incident in two weeks. Turkish media reports said Kurdish rebels caused the blast.