The row between the Kurds and Southern Iraq over is oil reserves and development of the oil industry (see yesterday’s blog) looks set to intensify.

The Kurds are negotiating with two Canadian firms on a joint venture to construct an oil refinery and continue work on a second one to boost its fledgling oil industry.

But they face continuing opposition from the central government in Baghdad, and a group of about 145 Sunni and Shi’ite legislators in parliament expressed their deep concerns against “any individual act” in Iraq’s natural resources.

The Kurdish spokesman, Jamal Abdullah, said the contracts are legal and that no one has the authority to annul them.