ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey says its state-run petroleum company has reached a deal with U.S. company Exxon Mobil to explore for oil in northern Iraq.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that the deal was a “step toward exploring for oil” in Iraq’s Kurdish region.
He said details of the deal would be revealed after his visit to the United States on Thursday.
Both the United States and the Iraqi central government oppose allowing Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government to sign oil deals without Baghdad’s approval. They fear that could threaten Iraq’s unity and stability.
It was unclear whether Baghdad had approved Turkey’s deal.
Turkey, which is eager to expand its energy supply, backs the Kurds’ position that the Iraqi constitution gives its regions some power to sign oil and gas deals independently.