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Kirkuk oil fields
Kirkuk oil fields
Emmanuel Grasland

Big oil companies don’t think much of Iraq’s threats. They are lining up for oil prospection in Kurdistan, despite Baghdad’s ban on signing contracts with Kurdish authorities. Last week, Total announced it was purchasing 35% of two blocks located in Iraqi Kurdistan, while the Russian oil giant Gazprom Neft bought stakes in two blocks that could potentially contain 3.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

These announcements have incurred Baghdad’s wrath, with the Iraqi central government faced off against Kurdish authorities on the distribution of oil wealth. “We will punish companies that sign contracts without the central-government and the Oil Ministry’s authorization,” threated Hussein Chahristani, a spokesperson for the Iraqi vice prime minister in charge of energy, adding that if Total doesn’t cancel the contracts, the consequences would be “very dire.”

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May 21-22

  • A liberated Ukrainian village
  • Long COVID limbo
  • TikToker under fire
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