Geneva-based independent Oryx Petroleum has signed three oil deals directly with the Wasit Provincial Government, bypassing the central Iraqi government in Baghdad. The deal was done back in December 2011. Rumors of the deal – and other direct contracts with provincial governments – have been buzzing around the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) oil circles for some time. But full confirmation and details only emerged early in March with Oryx’s publication of a prospectus as part of its bid to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Independent deals such as these pose a direct challenge to the authority of the oil ministry in Baghdad, and given the importance of oil development to Iraq, reflects a dangerous rift between the provinces and central government. The federal government has refused to acknowledge the right of the autonomous KRG to sign independent oil deals.   (CONTINUED - 790 WORDS)