Hunt Oil Signs Kurdish Deal, Slights Baghdad
Company will explore in northern Iraq without central approval
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2007 2:20 PM CDT
Oil tankers are filled in al-Bakir Harbor in Basra, Iraq, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq Sunday, July 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Dallas-based Hunt Oil  has signed a deal to prospect for oil in in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan. Hunt is the latest of several small oil companies bypassing Baghdad to deal directly with regional authorities, underscoring Kurdistan's increasing independence from the Iraqi central government, which has been unable to pass a petroleum law drafted early last summer.

Kurdistan's petroleum make up only a tiny fraction of the country's oil reserves, estimated to be the third-largest in the world. But the area is Iraq's least violent, and the war, along with the lack of legal framework, makes most exploration impossible.