London, UK – ( - Over recent days, a number of misleading and sensational articles have appeared in the media about alleged Islamic State (IS) oil smuggling routes to Turkey.  

Some of the articles, in particular a report in the Qatari media outlet Al Araby al Jadeed on 26th November, appear to be a deliberate smear campaign against the Kurdistan Region rather than a genuine journalistic attempt to expose the IS terrorist organization’s oil trading and networks.

Al Araby al Jadeed wrongly alleges that IS oil is smuggled across the Iraq-Turkey border by trucking via Kurdistan Region and then relabelled at Turkish ports and sold as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Furthermore the report publishes by way of evidence an uncaptioned picture of a “Master’s Receipt for Documents”, implying it represents IS oil that has been trucked to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey and then shipped to Israel.  

The report goes on to allege that once inside Turkey, IS oil “is indistinguishable from oil sold by the KRG” as both are sold as “illegal”, “source unknown” or “unlicensed” oil.

In fact, all of these allegations are baseless. For example, the “Master’s Receipt” they produce is in reality an official document relating to a fully legal and authorized sale of KRG-produced oil that arrived in a legal and transparent way via the Kurdistan-Turkey pipeline network to the port of Ceyhan.

The only oil that can be handled in Ceyhan has to arrive via the pipeline network.  Therefore it is nonsense for Al Araby al Jadeed to purport that a stolen document that it published represents the sale of oil that has been trucked to Ceyhan and then inserted into the pipeline. It is either shoddy journalism, or a deliberate smear against the KRG.

The KRG would like to state the following:

  • All oil produced within the Kurdistan Region is transported under the authority of its Ministry of Natural Resources via pipeline.

  • Crude transported to Turkey via truck consists of small volumes, via a Turkish company registered, vetted, and authorized by the Turkish Government.

  • This small volume of heavy oil that cannot be exported via the pipeline has been offered for swap arrangement in return for diesel, benzene and other refined products that the Region cannot refine for itself.

  • The KRG has published details of these swap arrangements. No cash payments are involved.

  • The Origin and Quality of the oil produced by KRG is certified and confirmed firstly by the producing companies, as well as the MNR, and then again at Dortoyl and Mersin by internationally recognised third party inspectors.

  • The KRG pipeline to Ceyhan - BOTAS Terminal is controlled by MNR-KRG, Turkish authorities as well as SOMO, and every barrel of oil is verified and accounted for. There is, and can be, no question as to the origin of the oil in the pipeline. Please see the MNR monthly export reports.

  • Every single KRG cargo loaded out of Ceyhan is further verified and tested for its quality, prior to final approval for export pipeline.

  • The KRG pipeline to Ceyhan - BOTAS Terminal is critical to the KRG's long-term future and its stability of income. As such, strict procedures and controls enable verification and the integrity of this operation.

  • Attempts to undermine the continuous fight against IS by the KRG’s Peshmerga military forces, which are financed by the Kurdistan Region’s legal exports, are not only flat-out wrong but also plain dangerous.

  • Such publications only serve to muddy the waters of the most serious threat faced by the international community.

  • Our efforts will not be distracted and we are not prepared to entertain or tolerate such lies to tarnish our government’s efforts against IS. 

The Kurdistan Regional Government has repeatedly demonstrated its support for the international coalition’s efforts to disrupt the IS terrorist organization’s production, marketing and sales of oil.

The KRG has been working closely with its anti-terror coalition partners to help identify specific oil-related transport and infrastructure controlled by Daesh.

Coalition forces have already made progress in stopping IS oil financing and destroying infrastructure, but more needs to be done. The KRG stands ready to offer practical help.

We invite any media outlets, including Al Araby al Jadeed, which claims to have access to IS and so called oil middlemen, to present any reliable evidence or information in their possession, to either the KRG or other anti-terror coalition forces so that appropriate action can be taken.  


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


Follow Us On Twitter - Image