Iraqi federal and Kurdish officials reach oil export deal

Beirut –

Authorities in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region said on Sunday they had reached a preliminary agreement with Baghdad’s central government to allow oil exports from the northern Kurdistan region to resume via Turkey.

The central government’s oil ministry said in a statement that a final agreement had yet to be reached, but that it “hoped to reach an agreement soon to resume oil exports.”

Baghdad is “enthusiastic to expedite the resumption of regional oil exports through the Turkish port of Ceyhan,” the ministry said in a statement.

Officials in Baghdad, home to the Kurdish government, and Irbil have long been at odds over oil revenues, a dispute exacerbated by the lack of federal laws detailing the allocation of funds from oil and gas exports. ing.

The announcement came after an arbitration process by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) sided with Iraq over a long-running dispute over independent exports of oil by the Kurdish regional government.

According to Lawk Ghafuri, the Kurdish regional government’s head of foreign media affairs, exports via a pipeline through Iraq’s Fish Khabur border to Turkey’s port of Ceyhan are expected to resume this week.

Iraq filed an arbitration against Turkey in 2014 after the Kurdish region began exporting resources without Baghdad’s consent through its neighbors. He argued that it would have to go through SOMO, the Iraqi state-owned oil distributor.

Iraqi authorities announced on March 25 that the arbitration court had ruled in their favor. Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources said in a statement that the arbitration award dismissed four of her five Iraqi claims and upheld one.

In any event, the ruling halted oil exports from the Kurdish region via Seyhan, which previously amounted to about half a million barrels per day. A prolonged outage would have hit both global oil supplies and the Kurdish region’s budget hard.

In recent years, the Kurdish government has frequently delayed the payment of public sector salaries, in part due to ongoing disputes over oil and gas revenues, and the central government’s decision to cut funding for Urbil. I decided to refrain from moving.

Ghafuri said on Sunday that after “several meetings” between officials in Irbil and Baghdad, an initial agreement was reached to allow exports to resume. The agreement will remain in effect until the Iraqi parliament passes the long-delayed oil and gas law, he said.

Under the deal, the oil will be jointly exported by SOMO and the Kurdistan Regional Ministry of Natural Resources, with proceeds going to financial accounts controlled by the Kurdish government and monitored by the central government.

The central government’s oil ministry said in a statement that “technical issues” should be resolved between Baghdad and Irbil.

Haibet Al Harboushi, chairman of parliament’s oil, gas and natural resources committee, said in a statement on Sunday that there was a “quasi-political consensus” to hasten the passage of the oil and gas law and the committee will meet. said. With the heads of various political blocs to reach consensus. “Because investing in oil and gas belongs to everyone, the oil and gas law serves all Iraqis and not any particular political party,” Halboushi said.

In a statement on the arbitration decision, Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources said on Tuesday that Turkey’s efforts to support Iraq’s territorial integrity, “political and economic stability in both Iraq and the region”, and support global oil markets emphasized the support of

“As always, Turkey meets the requirements of international law and is ready to provide all kinds of contributions to a durable settlement between the main parties to the dispute,” the statement added.


Associated Press writer Andrew Wilkes from Istanbul contributed to this report.

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