Delegation from KRG and oil firms arrive in Baghdad to discuss restart of oil exports

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — A high-level delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), along with representatives from international oil companies operating in the Kurdistan Region, arrived in Baghdad late Saturday.

Umed Sabah Othman, President of the Diwan of the KRG Council of Ministers, announced that the purpose of the visit is to hold discussions with Iraqi officials regarding the issues related to oil exports from the Kurdistan Region.

In a post on his Facebook wall, Sabah stated that the delegation visited Baghdad “on an official visit at the invitation of Iraq’s Ministry of Oil.”

“The purpose of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) delegation’s visit to Baghdad and their meeting with the Iraqi Oil Ministry is to continue discussions between the KRG and the Iraqi government and to develop a solution to resume oil exports,” added Sabah.

The visit follows an announcement made last week by KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, stating that a delegation would be sent to Baghdad to address the issues hindering oil exports from the Region.

International oil companies that are members of the Association of the Petroleum Industry of Kurdistan (APIKUR) have previously announced their readiness to resume the Kurdistan Region’s oil exports, even if this requires amendments to existing contracts.

After being halted for nearly 15 months, the resumption of oil exports has become a significant point of contention among the central government, the KRG, and the oil companies.

The problem stems from the difference in oil production costs. Iraq has set in the budget law a lower price per barrel, whereas the KRG has already entered into agreements with oil companies at higher prices, in contrast to the costs associated with the southern Iraqi oil fields.

APIKUR has asserted that its member companies are ready to recommence exports, contingent upon agreements ensuring “payment security for both past and future exports, direct payment, and the preservation of commercial terms.”

It has also asserted that if such agreements necessitate amendments to current contracts, they are open to considering this possibility, provided there is mutual agreement among the three parties.

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