The Iraqi government announced Tuesday that it is
barring U.S. oil giant Chevron from Iraqi oil fields, in protest at the
company taking over an exploration deal with the autonomous Kurdistan
The country's oil ministry said that Chevron signed its July 19 deal to take over Kurdish oil concessions from the Indian company Reliance "without the approval of the Ministry of Oil or the central government, although it was well aware of the position of the Ministry of Oil and the central government that all contracts signed by the regional government are illegal and illegitimate".
Oil is one of several bones of contention between Iraq's central government and the Kurdish authorities, who are intent on resisting any attempt by Baghdad to gain influence in their northern region.
The central government objects to Kurdish attempts to retain local control of production, saying that oil is a national issue under the country's 2005 constitution.
But oil companies are attracted to Kurdistan by its large potential reserves and favourable terms offered by the Kurdish authorities.
Chevron is the second major US oil company to fall foul of the Iraqi authorities. Exxonmobil was barred from government-controlled parts after signing a major exploration deal with the Kurdish Regional Government last November.
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