[ltr]2022.09.02 - 09:04[/ltr]
Oil companies operating in Iraq's Kurdistan region have asked the United States to help defuse tension between Iraq's central government and the autonomous region, three sources said and a letter seen by Reuters showed.
The sources stated that the matter requires intervention to ensure the continued flow of oil from northern Iraq to Turkey, so that Ankara does not have to increase its oil imports from Iran and Russia.
She said the Kurdistan region's economy is vulnerable to collapse if it loses its oil revenues.
The atmosphere was tense in February when the Iraqi Federal Court ruled that a law regulating the oil sector in Kurdistan was unconstitutional.
In the wake of the ruling, the federal government, which had long opposed allowing the KRG to independently export oil, intensified its efforts to control oil export revenues from Erbil, the regional capital.
Prior to the ruling, according to a copy of the letter seen by Reuters, Dallas-based HKN Energy wrote to US ambassadors in Baghdad and Ankara in January seeking mediation in another 2014 case related to the Iraq-Turkey pipeline.
Baghdad accuses Turkey of violating the agreement on the pipeline by allowing Kurdistan's exports, which it considers illegal, to pass through the pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
The Turkish Energy Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
The last hearing in the case was held in Paris in July, and the International Chamber of Commerce will issue a final decision in the coming months, according to the Iraqi Oil Ministry.
It is still not clear what steps Turkey might take if a ruling is issued in favor of Iraq, which is likely, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
At least one other oil company has made high-level contacts with four governments directly or indirectly involved, urging them to intervene, a representative of the company, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.
Other companies operating in Iraqi Kurdistan, such as Genel Energy and Chevron, declined to comment on the arbitration case, and DNO and Gulf Keystone did not respond so far to a request for comment.