The federal government ofIraq and that of the autonomous region of Kurdistan are discussing the phases and mechanisms for exporting oil from the fields under the control of Erbil, following the sentence of the international arbitral tribunal in Paris which obliges the Turkey not to import Kurdish crude oil without Baghdad's approval. According to ruca broadcaster "Rudaw", yesterday a delegation from the Kurdistan regional government went to Baghdad to discuss the dossier. The meeting in Baghdad was chaired by the Iraqi Oil Minister, Hayyan Abdul Ghani, and by the Minister of Natural Resources of the Erbil government, Kamal Mohammed. In a statement, Iraq's oil ministry said the meeting discussed "new mechanisms and data" related to the Kurdistan region's oil exports, without providing further details.
As confirmed by Iraqi Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Johad, the federal government halted oil exports from the Kurdistan Autonomous Region and fields located in Kirkuk province after the country won the arbitration case against Turkey, which according to the Paris arbitral tribunal violated the provisions of the Iraqi-Turkish pipeline agreement signed in 1973. According to Iraqi media reports, on March 25 after warning Iraqi oil operators at the port of Ceyhan not to load oil exported from Kurdish fields without government approval in Baghdad, Turkey's authorities subsequently stopped pumping Iraqi crude from the pipeline. The Iraqi federal government subsequently halted operations on its side of the pipeline in Kirkuk province.
Nahro Mahmoud, deputy of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and member of the oil and gas commission of the parliament told the "Rudaw" broadcaster that - after yesterday's meeting - the export of oil from the Kurdistan region through Turkey will resume "definitively" in the next few days. Yesterday, Iraq's oil ministry welcomed the decision issued by the Paris court that ruled in favor of Baghdad against Kurdistan's oil exports via Turkey. In a statement, the Oil Ministry recalled that the lawsuit was filed by Iraq against Turkey for violating the provisions of the Iraqi-Turkish pipeline agreement signed in 1973.
The Iraqi-Turkish pipeline agreement stipulates that the Turkish government must comply with the Iraqi side's instructions regarding the movement of crude oil exported from Iraq. The ministry indicated that the decision does not constitute an obstacle to the development and expansion of bilateral relations. The Oil Ministry clarified that it will discuss the mechanism of exporting Iraqi oil through the Turkish port of Ceyhan with interested entities in the Kurdistan region and Turkish authorities to ensure the continuation of oil exports. For his part, the spokesman of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Lawk Ghafuri, said that "the decision of the French court in favor of the Iraqi federal government against Turkey will not hinder our relations with Baghdad". In this regard, "we will visit Baghdad for the resolution of related issues," added Ghafuri.
As the specialist website "Iraq Oil Report" points out, the arbitral tribunal's ruling deals a potentially fatal blow to attempts by the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan to autonomously control its oil sector and raises urgent questions about how oil companies in Kurdistan will be able to continue to produce and sell the approximately 400.000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil exported through the pipeline with Turkey. The pipeline closure also halts exports of oil extracted from federally controlled fields using the Erbil-controlled Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline averaging about 75.000 barrels per day over the past year.
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