21 March 2013

Speech by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani

Reichstag Building

Berlin, Germany

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you for inviting me to address this important forum on energy and foreign policy.

We in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have a great respect for Germany, one of the world’s most successful and established federal democracies.

Ten years ago, the US and its allies removed Saddam Hussein from power, ending 30 years of an oppressive regime.
Despite the many problems faced by the rest of Iraq since then, in Kurdistan we have:

- Maintained stability,
- Promoted economic growth
- Achieved social progress, and
- Built democratic institutions.

Our energy goals are simple:

- To use our natural resources wisely so that our people prosper, and
- Never again face the terrors of genocidal rule.

As Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, I want to discuss today how Germany can help.

Because our success will be your success.

Distinguished Guests,

I have heard today that Energy security is a key focus for German foreign policy. I believe that this is an opportunity for Germany to strengthen its partnership with Kurdistan.

Germany can capitalize on:

- our dynamic economy,
- our energy resources,
- our security stability,
- our moderating influence in the area
- Germany can maximise relations with other key players in the region.

My government is also urging friends to work closely with Germany and its EU partners to push for a European energy policy that recognizes the new realities of Central Asia and the Middle East.

Our message to Germany and Europe is this:

- Kurdistan Region is the gateway to the rest of Iraq.
- And the large reserves of oil and gas discovered in Kurdistan since 2007 can help Europe secure its future energy supplies.
- With estimated reserves at 45 billion barrels of oil and 3-6 trillion cubic meters of gas, our federal region is pressing ahead.
- Our sound investment policies since 2003, Iraq’s federal Constitution in 2005, and Kurdistan’s Oil and Gas Law of 2007 have underpinned our rapid growth.

From a standing start 6 years ago, Kurdistan’s oil and gas industry can now export 250,000 barrels of oil per day.

Next year, we anticipate being able to export on average at least 400,000 barrels of oil per day. 

We are on track to export 1 million barrels per day by the end of 2015 and 2 million barrels per day by 2019 as expected new discoveries come on line.

As for gas,

Once our domestic needs have been met, the KRG can help to contribute to the long-term gas supply needs of Turkey and Europe, as a reliable partner for both.

We are currently in negotiations with our counterparts in Turkey, as well as international oil companies to export gas to Turkey and Europe.

All this means a large increase in revenues for Iraq as a whole.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The discoveries are there in the oil fields of Kurdistan, but we must also focus on getting the oil and gas to market.

Not just from the fields in the Kurdistan, but from all the other adjacent areas of Iraq.

With the right export infrastructure in place, by 2019, over 3 million barrels per day could be flowing through Kurdistan to international markets.

So we are working hard:

- to identify bottlenecks in the infrastructure,
- to create the right investment scenario,
- and to get more oil to the market.
- this means building additional export pipelines for Iraq.

and that is what we are doing, in line with our rights as stated in Iraq’s constitution.

This policy should not be seen as a threat to Iraq’s unity or as somehow “destabilizing.”

Pipelines bring prosperity, and economic growth will contribute to the stability and unity
of Iraq.

Under the Constitution, the export and marketing of Iraq’s oil or gas from Iraq is not the monopoly of any single entity, as long as the revenues are shared fairly among its people.

So if Europe wants to access gas from the fields in Kurdistan, it will be the KRG that takes the lead in negotiations.

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.

Our approach is also in line with the need to help stabilize oil markets through increased production at a moment of significant international tension.

Our fast developing energy industry is leading the way in creating private-sector downstream business opportunities.

Some 50 foreign companies from 22 different countries have so far committed to investing over 15 billion US Dollars in the energy sector in the Kurdistan Region.

Our neighbour Turkey has been the quickest to embrace the new realities of the region.

It has built a sustainable relationship of mutual interests with the Kurdistan Regional Government, based on trade, security and strategic co-operation.

The Kurdistan Region, in this context, has proven that it can be a crucial partner to Turkey and indeed the broader international community.

The KRG believes that Turkish entry to the European Union would create new opportunities for exporters and investors, and better link Germany and Europe to markets and especially energy sources in central Asia and the Near East.

With Europe’s energy consumption expected to increase in the years to come, it is clear that new and more diverse sources of energy are required.

For Kurdistan and Iraq the prospect of being at the centre of the EU’s future energy plans is a supreme opportunity.

Distinguished Guests,

The strategic potential of the Kurdistan Region has increased in recent years and our hope for a bright and just future is replacing the dread and fear of the old times.
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq is a worthy ally. Since 2003, not one foreign soldier has been killed in our area, which is safe and secure even by Western standards.

The Kurdish security forces, or peshmerga, have played an important role in combating terrorism and contributing to the stability of the whole country.

Kurdish politicians have been working with their Arab partners in Baghdad to secure the foundations of Iraqi democracy… though there is still a long way to go.
Our oil policies are based on cooperation and
coordination, not confrontation.

The KRG will pursue sustainable development at home and mutually beneficial trade relations abroad, and all Iraq will benefit.

There is still much work to be done, but the Kurdistan Region is now firmly on the regional, and indeed global, energy map.

Thank you


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


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