END-RUN: A Middle East subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom Neft signed two oil deals with Iraq’s self-ruled northern Kurdish region, becoming the fourth major oil company to enter into agreements with Iraqi Kurds that bypass the central government in Baghdad.
POSSESSION IS 9/10THS: The Kurds and the central government disagree strongly over who has the authority to develop resources in the north. Baghdad wants to manage energy resources nationwide, but Kurds insist the constitution doesn’t require them to go through Baghdad.
HAVES AND HAVENOTS: Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the Kurds have signed scores of oil deals with small and mid-sized oil companies. But the entry of the oil majors may be a game changer that could lead to de facto policies the Kurds have long sought. Gazprom follows France’s Total S.A., U.S. oil majors Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. who have already made their own forays into the region.