The Russian company is one of a plethora of players to haveincurred the wrath of Iraq’s government over oil deals struck in the autonomousregion of Kurdistan to the north.

"Iraq sent a letter to Gazprom [Neft] at the end of October asking thecompany for an official reply, that it should cancel deals signed with KRG [KurdistanRegional Government] or pull out completely from Badra oilfield," Reutersquoted Iraqi energy ministry spokesperson Faisal Abdullah as saying on Friday.

Upstream awaits a response to questions on the matter fromGazprom Neft.

The Russian penned a deal in early 2010 to jointly developreserves of around 3 billion barrels of oil at the Badra field with Korea’sKogas, Petronas of Malaysia and Turkish outfit TPAO. Gazprom Neft is operatoron 30%.

Drilling began last year with maximum production of 170,000barrels per day eyes in 2017.