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Prime Minister Barzani invites Baghdad to observe process of oil exports to Turkey

TUE, 3 DEC 2013 00:13 | KRG Cabinet

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq - (KRG.org) – Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, speaking at a conference in Erbil today, highlighted Kurdistan Region’s contribution to the global energy market and reiterated Kurdistan’s commitment to the Iraqi constitution in the Region’s dealings with Turkey.

The Prime Minister referred to the discussions over the past two years between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Turkey on cooperation in oil and gas, which includes oil exports, and said that the framework agreement between Erbil and Ankara adheres to the Iraqi constitution.

He said, ‘I have insisted at all times of these negotiations on the transparency and accountability of the export process and revenues from the Kurdistan Region. And here I would like to announce that we will invite officials from the federal government and independent third parties to observe all stages of the process.’

The Prime Minister was speaking at the third Kurdistan Iraq Oil and Gas Conference which has attracted almost 1,000 executives from the energy industry as well as senior diplomats from across the world. Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Shaways, the KRG’s Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami and Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz also spoke at the opening of the conference.

Prime Minister Barzani said that the people of Kurdistan suffered unspeakable crimes under the former regime including chemical bombardment and now want an Iraq that treats everyone as equal citizens. ‘We believe that the only path to Iraq’s unity and stability is by genuinely adhering to the constitution, which mandates power-sharing and wealth-sharing. These principles especially apply to the management of our country’s natural resources. We have always and continue to confirm that we work as real partners, but because of our past full of oppression and killing, it is very difficult to trust others to decide our destiny.’

Prime Minister Barzani emphasised that Kurdistan needs to be an equal partner to Baghdad and wants Iraq to be a country at peace with itself, removed from the centralised system that still courses through the country.

He said, ‘The finalisation of our energy cooperation with Turkey is a great achievement for Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. I want to reassure our colleagues in Baghdad that this process will bring us together. Our doors have always been open to discussion and dialogue, and they will remain open.’

The Kurdistan and Turkish energy ministers, who are in serious, detailed and constructive discussions about the cooperation in the energy sector, are also encouraging the federal government in Baghdad to join the discussions about the best revenue-sharing formula for the proceeds of crude oil exports.

Minister Yildiz reiterated the Turkish leadership’s focus on the common interest of all parties and Turkey’s hopes for a three-way partnership that can have a positive impact on the unity and stability of Iraq, ‘We believe we can have strong impact on an understanding between Erbil and Baghdad,’ he said.

Dr Hawrami told the conference that the new pipeline from Kurdistan to Turkey is operational. ‘The new pipeline is now tested and up to 350,000 barrels per day will flow in the coming year and replace the current trucking of oil from the Kurdistan Region to Turkey where it is mainly bartered for products such as benzene,’ he said.

The pipeline starts at the Taq Taq oilfield, running through the Khurmala field to the north at Duhok and via Fishkhabur along the Turkish border to Ceyhan. It has the capacity to export 1 million bpd by the end of 2015. The KRG is taking full responsibility for the oil pipeline transportation process to replace the current trucking of oil to Turkey, but is inviting the federal government and others to act as observers to the process.

Dr Hawrami told delegates that the Kurdistan Region is on course to becoming a net contributor to the federal budget and that the whole of Iraq would benefit from implementing the provisions of the federal constitution.

‘We would like to have Baghdad join the discussion with Turkey, because the dialogue and the good will are there and with the support of our friends from Turkey, things will move on,’ added Minister Hawrami.

With 45 billion of barrels of oil reserves 3-6 tcm of potential gas resources, the Kurdistan Region has been identified as one of the few remaining conventional oil and gas frontiers.  Over the past few years, the region has become one of the most actively explored hydrocarbon regions of the world.

Dr Shaways, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, emphasised that oil and gas revenues will enhance the living standards of all Iraqis. ‘The development of oil and gas will not only bring revenues but also stability and security for the country,’ he said.

Chair of the opening session Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former UK Ambassador to the UN and Chairman of Lambert Energy Advisory, said that, ‘The Kurdistan Region is moving into the consolidation phase. I congratulate Kurdistan on the progress it has made with Turkey and Turkey for the role it has played in this relationship.’

The first day of the conference also heard discussions on various aspects of the oil and gas industry with executives and experts as well as KRG officials participating. The conference continues tomorrow.

For more information on the CWC Kurdistan Iraq Oil and Gas Conference, please see http://www.cwckiog.com/