Releasing a statement total said it has completed an acquisition of 35 percent interest in two blocks of Harir and Safen that are both held by US Marathon oil company.
The statement said the two blocks cover an area of 705 square kilometers and 424 square kilometers respectively and Total would be the operator of the Safen block.
The deal challenges Baghdad
The total deals followed deals by the two big oil firms of Exxon Mobil and Chevron with the autonomous region something that Baghdad has harshly criticized and barred the two companies from further contracts with Baghdad.
“we consider the deal as illegal and unconstitutional and we deal this company the same way we previously dealt with companies that violated Iraqi law,” Said Faisal Abdulla, the spokesman for Hussein al- Shahristani, Iraq’ deputy Prime Minister for energy affairs.
Abdullah further warned that Baghdad would punish companies who sign deals without the approval of the central government and the oil ministry “unless Total reviews the deals, it will face severe consequences. Total will be blacklist for violating Iraqi law,” he said without giving further details.
Kurdistan Region, by contrast, insisted the deal was legal.
“This is our right. There are constitutional and legal points that give us the right,” AFP quoted the advisor to Kurdistan’s natural resources minister Sirwan Abubakir as saying.
Baghdad and Arbil are at odds over issues including Kurdistan's refusal to seek approval from the central government for oil contracts it has awarded to foreign firms, and over a swathe of disputed territory in northern Iraq.
A high-ranking Iraqi official on Sunday said security agencies had uncovered a secret weapons deal between Kurdistan and an unnamed foreign country.
That announcement came after a top Kurdish security official said Kurdish Peshmerga security forces had on Wednesday prevented soldiers sent by Baghdad from reaching a disputed area that borders Syria.