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Page added on November 29, 2007

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Analysis: Kirkuk project battle heats up

LONDON, Nov. 28 (UPI) — Iraq’s Oil Ministry is accusing the Kurdistan region of preventing development of one of Iraq’s oldest, largest and most controversial oil fields, another dispute in the battle over control of the country’s vast reserves.

While the rift has been public, the issue of the Kirkuk oil field project is starting to surface in conflicting accounts.

The ministry said Tuesday that Peshmerga, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s armed forces, wouldn’t allow the central government to move forward on upgrading the Khurmala Dome, part of the Kirkuk field, according to news reports. The official in charge of the project told United Press International Wednesday he was prevented within the last three months from working on it but denies the Peshmerga was involved.

“We have an engineering procurement contract. When equipment arrived, we started working ourselves,” Falah al-Khawaja, director general of the State Company for Oil Projects, an arm of the ministry, said on the sidelines of an oil conference in London. “They prevented us from continuing our work, which is actually against the law.”


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