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Norway's DNO says to finally be paid for Kurdish oil exports

by Staff Writers
Oslo (AFP) May 11, 2011
Norwegian oil firm DNO, among the first to operate in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, said Wednesday it would finally receive payment for crude oil exports from the Kurdish area of Iraq.

The overdue payment is made possible by a recent agreement between Baghdad and Kurdish authorities.

"A first cash advance to DNO of 110 million dollars has now been confirmed by the Kurdistan Regional Government and forms a basis for increased activities by DNO in Kurdistan going forward," DNO managing director Helge Eide said when presenting the group's quarterly earnings.

DNO has been present in Iraqi Kurdistan since 2004.

Its activities in the autonomous province had been troubled by a long dispute Baghdad and authorities in Kurdistan, which have argued over payments, revenue sharing and the central government's refusal to recognise Kurdish oil contracts.

The company started exporting crude oil from the Tawke field in 2009 but suspended exports shortly afterwards because it had not been paid.

Exports restarted in February this year following an agreement between the two sides whereby Baghdad agreed to pay for the expenses of oil companies working in the region.

Last week, Baghdad finally transferred 243 million dollars destined to payment for oil companies operating out of Kurdistan.

This "amounts to around 50 percent of net revenues derived from the export of over five million barrels of oil from the Kurdistan Region between the start of February 2011 and March 27," Kurdish Prime Minister Barham Salih said in a statement.

The Tawke field currently produces some 65,000 barrels a day, DNO said Wednesday.

The deal between Baghdad and the KRG came too late for DNO to include the Tawke field revenue in its first quarter earnings, it said.

The company lost 65.4 million kroner (8.3 million euros, $12.0 million) in the first quarter, down from a 14.8 million kroner net profit for the same period last year.

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