Turkey best way for KRG oil to globe: Iraqi official
WASHINGTONTurkey offers the best route for the sale of Kurdish oil to international markets, northern Iraq’s natural resources minister said yesterday on the heels of the first sale of Kurdish oil to a Germany-based company via Turkey despite Baghdad’s ire.
“There is no feasible route other than Turkey to carry oil extracted by northern Iraq to international markets,” Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami said during a public discussion on Energy Resources in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in Washington, organized by the Atlantic Council, a U.S. think tank, according to Anatolia news agency.
Around 30,000 tons of Kurdish oil, pumped from the Taq Taq oilfield, which is operated by Turkey-based Genel Energy, were sold via tender in early April on the international market, Reuters reported April 5.
The sale marks the first time the KRG has exported its oil to a country other than Turkey, independent from the central Iraqi government, which says the trading of Kurdish oil without its permission is illegal.
US support to Baghdad
The northern region is pushing ahead with plans to build its own oil export pipeline to Turkey, despite objections from the United States, which fears the project could lead to the breakup of Iraq.
In his remarks, Hawrami also touched upon the possible pipeline and said the construction of a pipeline between the KRG and Turkey would not take time.
The KRG has repeatedly said it has the constitutional right to sign deals and export oil with the objective of sharing revenues with the central government – a necessary conciliatory approach given that the KRG is still dependent on Iraq’s budget allocations under the Constitution.
The U.S. shares the worries of Baghdad as it fears that economic independence for Kurds could cause deeper instability for Iraq.
“As long as Baghdad feels the U.S.’ quiet support, it will perceive this is a license to not implement the Constitution,” Hawrami said, blaming the U.S. for remaining silent on Baghdad’s attempts at centralization.