UAE firms start pumping Kurdish gas over Iraq objections

DUBAI, October 5, 2008 (AFP) – United Arab Emirates-based firms Dana Gas PJSC and Crescent Petroleum announced that they had begun producing gas under a deal with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region over Baghdad’s objections. The firms said that, following completion of the project’s first phase, they expected to supply 75 million cubic feet (2.25 million cubic metres) per day to two power stations under construction in the Kurdish cities of Arbil and Sulaimaniyah, the official WAM news agency reported.

The gas is to be carried through a 180 kilometre (115 mile) pipeline under a project signed last year that carries a total price tag of 650 million dollars.

The firms said they plan to raise output to 300 million cubic feet (nine million cubic metres) a day once the generating plants are fully operational in early 2009.

The central government in Baghdad has voiced anger at the Kurdish regional government’s signing of a string of oil and gas deals with foreign oil companies, insisting such deals ought to await the passage by the Iraqi parliament of a new oil and gas law.

But in recent weeks, the central government has signed a number of deals with Western oil majors under the old legislation inherited from