U.S. oil giant Chevron Corp. says it has signed a deal to acquire two oil drilling blocks in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region, where authorities have been at loggerheads with the central government in Baghdad over how to distribute the region’s oil wealth.
The California-based company said in a statement Thursday it will take over a share of India’s Reliance Exploration and Production efforts to explore for oil in two parcels of land north of the Kurdish capital of Irbil.
The deal makes Chevron the second U.S. company to defy Iraq’s central government by securing oil deals with Kurds. Exxon Mobil Corp. was the first in an agreement last October.
Kurdish leaders and Baghdad long have sparred over whether the region may develop natural resources without the central government’s approval.