KRG and oil companies to visit Baghdad, resolve Kurdistan oil export hurdles

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — A high-level delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and international oil companies operating in the Region’s oil fields will visit Baghdad next week at the request of the Iraqi Oil Ministry. The visit aims to address issues concerning the resumption of Kurdistan’s oil exports, according to a statement released by the KRG on Wednesday.

In its Wednesday meeting, the KRG discussed the Kurdistan oil exports, emphasizing the mechanisms and efforts undertaken to resolve the issue. The statement highlighted ongoing discussions between the KRG and the Iraqi Federal Government to expedite the resumption of oil exports.

The KRG’s statement detailed recent efforts by all parties to resolve the impasse over Kurdistan’s oil exports. It announced that a high-level delegation from the KRG and international oil companies, invited by Baghdad, will visit next week to discuss solutions and overcome the obstacles hindering the resumption of oil exports.

It also emphasized the its commitment to achieving an inclusive and balanced solution regarding the Kurdistan oil export issue, in accordance with constitutional principles and respecting the powers of the Kurdistan Region.

“The Kurdistan Regional Government is reaffirming its commitment to achieving a balanced and comprehensive agreement, in accordance with the constitution, to resume oil exports from Kurdistan through the Iraqi State Organization for Marketing Oil (SOMO). The revenue from these exports will be allocated to [Iraq’s] public treasury, respecting both the constitutional framework and the distinguishing features of the Kurdistan Region’s powers,” reads the statement.

Earlier this month, the Iraqi Oil Ministry invited the Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Natural Resources and the international oil companies operating in the Kurdistan oil fields to a tripartite meeting in Baghdad. The goal of the meeting is to reach an agreement on the issue.

Halting Kurdistan Region’s oil exports since March 2023 has caused a substantial monetary loss to both the Iraqi and Kurdistan Region treasuries, estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

Earlier in April, the Association of Petroleum Industry of Kurdistan (APIKUR), whose member companies operate the oil industry in the Kurdistan oil fields, called for a tripartite discussion to resume oil exports via the ITP. APIKUR stated that its member companies are ready to resume exports once agreements are reached that ensure payment security for past and future exports, provide for direct payment, and preserve commercial terms.

Oil exports from the Kurdistan Region through the ITP have come to a standstill after the Paris-based International Court of Arbitration ruled that Turkey breached a 1973 treaty by allowing these exports without Baghdad’s consent, resulting in the loss of billions of dollars from the Region’s primary source of income.

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