Iraq govt and Kurds discuss disputed oil contracts

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's oil minister has met with Kurdish officials to discuss an oil contract dispute.

The Kurds have signed nearly 20 production-sharing contracts with international oil companies after drafting their own oil and gas law in August 2007.

Those contracts are considered invalid by Iraq's Oil Ministry. It has threatened to exclude and blacklist companies that sign deals with the Kurds.

The prime minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region Nechirvan Barzani met for more than two hours with national Oil Minister Hussain al-Sharistani.

Barzani told reporters after Monday's meeting that more talks are needed on the oil contracts. But he says the two sides agreed to jointly operate the Khourmala oil field south of the regional capital of Irbil.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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