Istanbul, Turkey ( – Ashti Hawrami, the KRG Minister of Natural Resources, said on Friday 20th November that Kurdistan is developing gas production for local use and could in addition annually export 20 billion cubic metres of gas in four to five years.

He made his remarks at the Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit in Istanbul. Minister Hawrami said the KRG has been finalizing its gas projects for the past nine months and is working with Turkish and Spanish companies to develop the gas and export it to Turkey and then Europe.

He added, "We have made progress on the ground and received encouragement from the international community regarding exporting our gas."

Minister Hawrami said that the KRG’s direct oil sales were crucial to funding the fight against ISIS.  He also called on the international community to directly support and provide funding for the Peshmerga forces in the war against ISIS.

“We faced huge budget deficits in the first half of this year because we only received around $2 billion dollars of the expected $7 billion dollars of oil income [from Baghdad]. We therefore needed to sell our oil by ourselves,” he said. 

“We couldn’t make payments to around 1.4 million public servants for three to four months in the first half of this year. But by selling our oil by ourselves we earned twice as much as we could have earned from the oil deal with Baghdad. We have therefore at least been able to resume monthly civil servant salaries, although some months still remain unpaid. We are in a relatively better condition now”. 

Former US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said that the KRG’s economic crisis could affect the fight against ISIS, and that it is “highly unlikely” that the Federal Government will be able to pay the KRG the same as the KRG can make through independent oil sales.

Tony Hayward, Chairman of Genel Energy, said that gas export will be far more strategic than oil export for the KRG. "My expectation is that by the early 2020s, more than 20 billion cubic metres of gas a year will flow from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq into the Turkish market and into Europe. This will be a completely transformative step for both Turkey and the Kurdistan Region”, he said.

Alberto Galicia, commercial director of gas for Repsol, said his company was working closely with the KRG Ministry of Natural Resources to develop the gas reserves in the blocks Repsol operates in the Kurdistan Region. He said Europe was focusing on its energy security and looking for new sources of gas supply, which the Kurdistan Region could provide.

Minister Hawrami paid tribute to the international oil companies’ (IOCs) commitment to Kurdistan Region in challenging times, and Ambassador Khalilzad said it was important that IOCs get paid to be able to maintain oil production.

During the summit, which was attended by heads of state and ministers, Minister Hawrami had meetings with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Feridun Siniorloglu ; Amos Hochstein, Secretary of State John Kerry's special energy envoy; and Stuart Jones, US ambassador to Iraq. He also met Gov. John Huntsman, chairman of the Atlantic Council. 

Minister Ashti Hawrami Kurdistan panel Atlantic Council Summit 2015 Istanbul



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


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