January 21, 2013
Iraq’s premier Monday called on ExxonMobil to respect the country’s constitution in rare talks with the US firm’s chief, an apparent reference to a deal with the Kurdish region Baghdad says is illegal.
Nuri al-Maliki also appeared to once again rule out production-sharing deals that Exxon has signed with Kurdistan, arguing that Iraq’s substantial oil reserves “belong to all Iraqis,” an oft-cited phrase in Iraq’s constitution that central government officials see as justifying per-barrel service fees.
The meeting was the first between Maliki and Exxon chief Rex Tillerson since the firm signed an agreement in October 2011 for oil exploration with Kurdistan, angering the central government in Baghdad, which regards deals signed without the expressed approval of the federal oil ministry as illegal.
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