Kurdish Regional Government halts all oil exports in dispute with Maliki government
Maliki's federal government claims an exclusive right as far as exporting oil is concerned. The Kurdistan Regional Government begs to differ. To make its point the KRG has halted all exports of oil from Kurdistan. This move will hurt both Kurdistan and the federal Iraqi government.
The KRG claims that the Maliki government owes them $1.5 billion dollars as part of a deal to share revenues. The KRG had already decreased exports to 50,000 barrels a day to protest against the non-payment. According to the KRG they have not received a cent from the federal government in 10 months.
For its part the Maliki government claims the KRG has produced much less oil than promised and as a result owes the Finance Ministry compensation for this failure. This sounds like a lame excuse.
Oil sharing provisions are written into the Iraq constitution but the terms continue to be a matter of dispute. In particular the central government objects to oil deals signed with foreign companies by the KRG. These the central government considers illegal and invalid.
Oil is just one of a number of disputes between the central government and the KRG. The KRG sheltered the Iraqi vice-president who was wanted for supposedly supporting terrorist operations against Shias. For more see this article.