Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region halted oil exports yesterday, a move that will result in ‘big losses' for the national economy, Iraq's oil minister said.
Kurdish government officials were not available for comment on the reason for the halt.
Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki's adviser on Kurdish affairs said the stoppage was a reaction to central government approving a new oil and gas law without consulting Kurdish leaders.
"Kurdish authorities are upset by the Cabinet decision to pass such a vital law without discussing it with its major partner in government," Al Maliki adviser Adel Barwari told Reuters. "Kurds have the feeling they were intentionally ignored."
There has been a long-running feud between Iraq's central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Arbil over control of northern oilfields. Kurdish authorities previously halted exports in 2009, a stoppage that lasted for more than a year until the flow of oil resumed in February.
At a meeting with foreign oil firms in Amman, Jordan, oil minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said in a statement the KRG had given no reason for the export halt, which would mean "big losses for the Iraqi economy, which will be reflected on its revenues, on the people in the region specifically and the Iraqi people in general."