IRAQ. Iraq, holder of the world’s third largest crude reserves, will start selling oil to SK Energy Co, South Korea’s largest refiner, from January after a one-year suspension.
Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization will sell SK Energy 65,000 barrels a day of oil under the terms of a new contract, an Iraqi Oil Ministry official, who declined to be identified for security reasons, said.
Iraq suspended crude oil exports to SK Energy in January this year, objecting to an SK Energy-led South Korean group’s agreement with Kurdistan to export oil from disputed fields. The group signed a production-sharing contract with Kurdistan for the Bazian block in northeastern Iraq, Korea National Oil Corp said on 12 November.
The Kurdish Regional Government, also known as KRG, has pursued an independent energy policy since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Iraq’s Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani has warned that Kurdish contracts will be reviewed when a federal energy law is passed and talks to date have slowly brought the two sides closer.
SK Energy was set to resume imports from Iraq as the KRG and authorities in Baghdad come closer to resolving their differences, the Seoul Economic Daily reported in June, citing an unidentified government official. The Iraqi and KRG governments have made progress in agreeing an energy law that will determine how income from oil fields is divided, the Korean-language newspaper said.