One year after suspension of Kurdish oil exports

Oil Ministry says it is not responsible for ongoing pause in Kurdistan oil exports

NEWSROOM— Iraq’s federal Oil Ministry has strongly criticized the Association of the Petroleum Industry of Kurdistan (APIKUR) for its assertion that the federal government is to blame for the ongoing suspension of international oil exports from the Kurdistan Region. The Ministry labeled the APIKUR allegations as a “blatant interference in Iraq’s sovereign and internal affairs.”

APIKUR released its statement on March 24, marking the one-year anniversary of the cessation of Kurdistan’s international oil exports following a ruling from the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration (ICA). APIKUR claimed that Iraq had suffered losses totaling approximately $11 billion due to the export halt.

Initially, Iraqi authorities attributed the ongoing pause in Kurdish oil exports to technical issues with Turkish pipelines. However, Turkey has claimed readiness to transport Kurdish oil since last October.

Despite neighboring Turkey’s agreement to resume the flow of Kurdish oil, Iraq has shown reluctance to facilitate exports.

The Iraqi government has insisted on renegotiating the terms of the Kurdistan Region’s contracts with foreign oil companies, including production fees. The Oil Ministry’s statement highlighted concerns regarding the lack of transparency surrounding contracts signed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Despite requests for copies of these contracts, the KRG has not complied, per Iraqi authorities.

The Ministry further asserted that the federal government was adversely affected by the suspension of exports. The ICA ruling held Turkey accountable for around $1.5 billion in fines to Iraq for permitting Kurdish oil exports through its territory, which was deemed unconstitutional.

Reuters reported on Sunday that there has been no progress in the efforts to resume the Kurdistan’s oil exports.

Kurdistan commenced oil exports in modest quantities as early as 2006, with significant expansion occurring around 2013 following the completion of a pipeline for oil exports via Turkey. At its height, Kurdistan exported as much as 700,000 barrels of oil per day when the KRG controlled neighboring oil fields in Kirkuk province. Prior to the ICA’s ruling in March of the previous year, Kurdistan exported approximately 400,000 barrels of oil.