All oil wells in Iraq are under the control of the central government, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Ali Hussein Al-Luiebi said Saturday.
Speaking to reporters at the 44th Baghdad International Fair, Luiebi said: “Our central government is currently improving the energy refining systems located in the northern regions of the country and is controlling all the oil wells in Iraq.”
“The central government has increased the production in Basra and southern oil fields in order to compensate for the loss of oil in the north,” he said.
The minister went on to say that the country would not suffer any loss as it had redressed the balance between oil production and export.
When asked about the alleged agreement between Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producing company, and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) regarding the oil wells in northern Iraq, he said: “We have heard about this. However, we do not have enough information on this matter for now. According to the initial information, they are working on improving some natural gas fields.”
The minister added that they contacted Rosneft regarding the matter. “They [Rosfnet] said that the agreement was in its negotiation phase.”
Earlier this week, Iraqi forces moved into Kirkuk province — and into other disputed parts of Iraq — following the withdrawal of Peshmerga fighters loyal to the Erbil-based Kurdish Regional Government.
Iraqi forces swiftly assumed control of strategic facilities throughout the province, including the North Oil Company, the Baba Gurgur oilfield, the K1 military base, the Mullah Abdullah oil refinery and Kirkuk’s main airport, among others.
Tension has steadily mounted between Baghdad and the KRG since 25 September, when Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas — and in several disputed parts of the country — voted on whether or not to declare independence from the Iraqi state.
The illegitimate referendum faced sharp opposition from most regional and international actors (including the U.S., Turkey and Iran), who had warned that the poll would distract from Iraq’s fight against terrorism and further destabilize the already-volatile region.