Det norske selskapet DNO vil onsdag skrive historie når det åpner oljefeltet Tawke i Kurdistan i Nord-Irak. Det er første gang på 35 år at et utenlandsk selskap pumper olje i Irak.

Det er ventet at den daglige produksjonen vil ligge på 15.000 fat.

DNO kom før alle andre til mølla og inngikk kontrakt i juni 2004. Andre utenlandske selskap følger spent med. DNO har inngått kontrakt med kurdiske myndigheter. Sentralregjeringen i Bagdad følger nøye med. De vil helst ha kontrollen. Kurderne har lovet å dele inntektene.

The sharing of oil resources has been a point of dispute between Iraq’s sectarian communities. The Kurdish authorities’ decision to sign separate contracts, which could bring them a direct income source and consolidate their power, has provoked fears of a break-up of Iraq.

DNO’s contract may have to be amended once the country’s hydrocarbons law is finally agreed. Passage of the law – which is critical to attracting foreign investment – through the Iraqi parliament has stalled over control of individual oil fields.

The Norwegian oil company will almost certainly have to deliver early output by truck, because Baghdad has not granted access to the export pipeline.

Helge Eide, DNO’s chief executive, said: «We are ready to pump. We never thought that we would be in a position to start producing oil from Kurdistan only two years after we commenced exploration.»

Norwegian company to pump Iraqi oil