ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Russia would connect the Kurdistan Region’s oil and gas pipelines to the Black Sea via Turkey, a Russian official said on Sunday.
Following the Sep. 25 Kurdistan independence referendum, shutting down the Kurdistan Region’s oil exports through the crucial Cihan pipeline, which runs through Turkey, has been one of the most substantial threats made in retaliation to the vote.
It has remained a hot topic as Ankara still threatens to block the pipeline, the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan's primary source of revenue, should Kurdish leaders refuse to reserve the vote's results.
“We will connect the Kurdistan Region’s oil and gas pipeline to the Black Sea,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Kurdistan 24.
The Kurdistan Region is rich in natural resources, namely oil and gas. The Region exports about 600,000 oil barrels per day via the Turkish port, making up over 90 percent of the Kurdistan Region’s total revenue.
The Russian official's comment comes as the Kurdistan Region faces sanctions imposed by Baghdad in retaliation to the Sep. 25 vote, such as the flight ban and attempts to close the Region's border crossings with Iran and Turkey.
On October 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow was managing its relationship with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region "with great care" given the escalation of tensions following the contentious referendum.
Editing by G.H. Renaud