Turkey Downplays Iraqi Energy Ties

ANKARA (UPI)–Turkish energy officials downplayed meetings scheduled for June with Iraq to discuss gas exports from the Akkas field near the Iraqi border with Syria.

Al-Hayat newspaper in Saudi Arabia on Monday issued a report saying Iraqi oil officials hoped to reach a deal with their Turkish counterparts in June for gas exports to Europe. Meanwhile, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani tells the Anatolia news agency he invited Turkish energy companies to take part in the Iraqi energy sector.

“There is a lot to be done, such as the construction of pipelines, oil storage facilities, oil stations and refinery facilities,” he said. “Hereby, I invite Turkish companies to make business in Iraq.”

The announcement comes as Iraqi lawmakers gather signatures to force Shahristani from office over what it seen as general failures during his tenure.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, for his part, downplayed any ventures in the Iraqi energy, saying considerations were still in the early stages, the Platts news service reports.

“The precise details of the visit have yet to be decided,” he said.

European and Emirati energy companies announced Sunday they would form a joint venture to develop Kurdish gas reserves for the Nabucco pipeline, though the central government in Baghdad is said to have rejected the deal.

Iraq lacks a national hydrocarbon law, complicating contract developments. Baghdad, however, has seemingly acquiesced over Kurdish plans to export oil from the Taq Taq and Tawke oil fields beginning June 1.

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