WASHINGTON, April 6 (UPI) -- Exxon Mobil is committed to working in oil fields controlled by the semiautonomous government in northern Iraq, the company's top executive said.
The central government in Baghdad has said it wouldn't work with international oil companies that have signed unilateral deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government. Baghdad this week said a KRG deal with U.S. supermajor Exxon was frozen.
Exxon Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson met with KRG President Masoud Barzani in Washington. Exxon, said Tillerson, would continue with its Kurdish operations.
"The oil major signed a contract with the KRG last year to explore six fields in Kurdistan," the Kurdish government said in a presidential statement. "Mr. Tillerson said Exxon Mobil is committed to the contracts that it has signed with both the Iraq government and with the Kurdistan Regional Government."
The KRG announced Monday that it halted exports because it hadn't received a $1.5 billion payment owed by Baghdad for oil deliveries.
An attack blamed on the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Kurdish initials PKK, briefly shut down oil exports this week through a key transit network to Turkey.