The Iraqi government has instructed the London office of international law firm Vinson & Elkins to represent its interests should the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) proceed with independent oil exports without Baghdad’s approval, MEES has learned. The step indicates the federal government’s determination not to back down in the protracted stand-off with Erbil.

The KRG has halted the pumping of crude oil through its pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, where shipping sources say some 400,000 barrels of Kurdish crude is being held in storage tanks. The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources had announced plans to tender internationally for the export of 2mn b/d of crude by the end of January; but the sale that was to be handled by the newly created Kurdish marketing company KOMO did not go ahead. (CONTINUED - 2026 WORDS)