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IRBIL, Iraq: The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government is working to create two oil companies, the latest move in the battle between Irbil and Baghdad to control the oil sector in the semi-autonomous region.

KRG’s new oil company, KROC, would specialize in oil exploration, while the second – KOMO – would focus on exporting and marketing oil from the semi-autonomous region, a spokesman said in a statement on Friday. communicated.

The regional government presented the idea and recently discussed it with the federal government in Baghdad, the KRG spokesman said in a statement.

The statement follows months of disputes between Erbil and Baghdad after a Federal Court ruling in February that found the legal foundations of the Kurdistan region’s oil and gas sector unconstitutional.

The Oil Ministry in Baghdad has since made fresh attempts to control revenue from the Kurdistan region, including summoning seven companies operating there to a commercial court on May 19. These were Addax, DNO, Genel, Gulf Keystone, HKN, Shamaran and WesternZagros.

The commercial court session was postponed twice because some of the representatives of these international oil companies did not have powers of attorney, several sources told Reuters. The hearing is due to resume on June 20.

In addition to announcing its intention to establish its own oil company in the Kurdistan region, the Iraqi Ministry of Petroleum has ordered major international contractors and subcontractors through Basrah Oil and the Iraqi National Oil Company to agree not to work on any contracts or projects there.

Through letters sent on June 7 and 12, companies were given three months to terminate existing contracts or projects in the KRG’s oil sector or risk being blacklisted, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The Oil Department is bringing in two law firms – Vincent and Elkins and Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton – to help gain control of the KRG’s oil business, two sources say. Both companies declined to comment.

The KRG repeatedly rejected the Federal Court’s decision. On June 5, the KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources filed a civil suit against Baghdad’s oil minister, Ihsan Ismael, for sending emails and letters to intimidate oil companies operating in the Kurdistan region and for interfering in the contractual rights of those companies and the KRG, according to a June 13 statement. Also on June 5, the Erbil Investigative Court ruled that Commercial Court hearings against international oil companies should be brought before the Erbil Court.

There have been years of attempts by the federal government to control ARK’s revenue, including local court rulings and threats of international arbitration.

The implications of the latest dispute are not entirely clear because more than eight months after the elections in Iraq, the formation of a government is still in progress.

Turkish drone kills 4 people

In another development, a Turkish drone targeted a vehicle traveling in the Kurdistan region of Iraq on Friday, killing four Kurdish militants, the Iraqi Kurdistan Counter-Terrorism Service said. In a statement, it said the drone hit the jeep in the town of Kalar in the northern province of Sulaymaniyah. A fifth passenger was injured and was being treated in hospital.

The militants belonged to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU, and has led an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984 that has killed dozens of thousands of people.

Turkey regularly carries out airstrikes in northern Iraq and has sent commandos to support its offensives. In April, it launched its latest offensive, dubbed Operation Claw Lock, in parts of northern Iraq – part of a series of cross-border operations it launched in 2019 to combat the illegal PKK based in Iraq. the mountainous regions of northern Iraq.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry said in a tweet on Friday that 6 PKK “terrorists” had been neutralized in Iraq as part of an ongoing military campaign, but did not give further details.

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