Chevron acquires RIL's Kurdistan blocks

US oil giant Chevron Corp yesterday said, it had signed a deal for acquisition of two oil drilling blocks from Reliance Industries Ltd in Iraq's northern Kurdish region, where local authorities and the central government in Baghdad are locked in a dispute over how to distribute the region's oil wealth.

The California-based company said in a statement yesterday, that it would take over 80 per cent of Reliance Exploration and Production's interest in the Sarta and Rovi blocks north of the Kurdish capital of Irbil.

A 20-per cent interest in Sarta / Rovi is held by Austria's OMV AG.

With the exit from Kurdistan, RIL would be left with a portfolio of 11 overseas oil and gas assets including two in Peru, three in Yemen (one producing and two exploratory), two each in Oman, and Colombia, one each in East Timor and Australia.

Chevron becomes the second US company to defy Iraq's central government by securing oil deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Exxon Mobil Corp's exploration deal last year with the regional government in the north, created a stir last year as it was deemed illegal by the central Iraqi government.