4 December 2012

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (KRG.org) – Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani yesterday at a major oil and gas conference said that the Kurdistan Region is now an important part of the world’s energy map and plans to develop export routes in the near future.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the CWC Kurdistan – Iraq Oil and Gas Conference in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region. He said, “We are working to identify bottlenecks in the export infrastructure, to create the right investment scenario, and to get more oil to the market. This means building additional feeder and export pipelines for Iraq, and that is what we are doing, in line with the authority that the Iraqi constitution has given the provinces of the Kurdistan Region.”

Emphasizing that these projects are not a threat to Iraq’s unity, the Prime Minister said, “Our policies, our achievements and our contracts are entirely consistent with Iraq’s constitution, and I stress again, the benefits will be shared by all Iraqis.” He also added that the success of the KRG’s policies has now inspired other governorates in Iraq to push for recognition of their Constitutional rights as well.

Pointing out that the Iraqi Government frequently uses the federal budget and control of natural resources to apply political pressure, Prime Minister Barzani said that if Iraq wants to succeed, it has to implement the constitution and avoid centralising power and authority. He said, “Iraq’s oil and gas revenues must be used to help and support the aspirations of the current and future generations, and not to buy expensive weapons and create crises involving the country in more problems.”

The Prime Minister said that Iraq needs to develop an oil and gas policy based on cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), not confrontation, and urged the federal government to pass an oil and gas law as soon as possible, as well as a revenue-sharing law.

He said, “Our goals for Iraq are simple and principled – we want a federal, pluralistic, and democratic system that serves the needs of all Iraqis, and protects the economic and political freedoms we cherish. We want to make certain that our energy resources are used to improve the lives and dreams of our people, to provide security, prosperity, and a higher quality of life for all.”

Dr Ashti Hawrami, the KRG Minister for Natural Resources, also addressed the conference. He said, “We will continue to have constructive dialogue with our colleagues in Baghdad, to find a way to resolve the outstanding issues between us."

He added, "In 2012, after the entry of Exxon Mobil, there followed a flood of other companies, such as Chevron, Total and Gazprom, and others are coming in as we speak. Now Taqa, the Abu Dhabi national energy company, has decided to take a position on exploration in Kurdistan.”

On oil exports, Dr Hawrami said that at the KRG’s initiative, the Kurdistan Region started exporting again a few months ago. This led to the September 13th agreement with Baghdad, which commits the KRG to an average of 200,000 barrels per day of exports by the end of this year, and an average of 250,000 barrels per day in 2013. The agreement is binding on both sides, it was signed by the Council of Ministers in Baghdad and approved by the KRG.

The KRG is already fulfilling this agreement and is on track for next year’s target. In return, the KRG expects the oil companies in the Kurdistan Region to be paid by Baghdad. The first payment of $540 million dollars was made in the last few days, and the second payment is expected to be paid by the end of this year.

Dr Roj Nouri Shawis, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, also gave a keynote address at the first day of the conference, highlighting Iraq's energy reserves and future production capacity. He said that the Federal Government is trying to remove legal and administrative obstacles so that foreign companies can invest in the energy sector, and added that the 13 September 2012 agreement with the KRG on oil export payments was an important step towards resolving outstanding issues.

Turkey’s Deputy Energy Minister, Dr Selahattin Cimen, gave a keynote speech on Turkey’s role as an energy transmission hub from East to West and from South to North. Dr Cimen said, “The trade sector is an important part of our relations, and collaboration between the KRG and Turkey to transfer oil and gas to the world markets will strengthen our ties. What energy markets need most is a free market, transparency and secure supply. In this context, the KRG reaching out to supply the world will be a breath of fresh air for the world markets.” Minister Cimen referred to the 15 October 2009 MOU between Iraq and Turkey to build a natural gas corridor. He also said that Ceyhan is set to become the largest oil outlet terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The two-day conference was opened by Dr Alirio Parra, Venezuela’s former energy minister and a board member of CWC Group. Dr Parra said, “In welcoming you to this conference today. Erbil is the exploration capital of the world at a time of exceptional growth. He added, “Three of the five largest oil companies in the world are here with us. It is unprecedented to have such a high number of large companies in an area that is for exploration.”

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the former British ambassador to the UN, chaired the first day of the conference. Other speakers included Minister Qubad Talabani, Head of the Department for Coordination and Follow-up, and representatives of several oil and gas companies.

Day two of the conference will feature Keynote addresses from the KRG Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Imad Ahmad Sayfour, as well as a large number of other officials and industry experts.


As per KRG's agreement with the Iraqi government and under the 2015 Budget Law


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