Ongoing Kurdistan Region oil export halt resulted in over $3bn loss, says chief diplomat
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The ongoing halt of the Kurdistan Region’s oil export since late March has resulted in a more than $3 billion loss, a senior Kurdish diplomat told Kurdistan 24 on Monday, as the oil flow stoppage continues.
The Kurdish oil export through Turkey’s Ceyhan port has been staunched since March 25 at Baghdad’s request after Iraq claimed it had won a case against Ankara at the International Court of Arbitration in France regarding the export.
Turkish, Iraqi, and Kurdistan Region officials have since been in negotiations to resume the oil flow, on which the Kurdish region’s economy had heavily dependent to function economically. The efforts have not resulted in resumption yet despite intensive talks.
The Kurdistan Region “has lost more than $3 billion” as a result of the stoppage, Safeen Dizayee, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations, told Kurdistan 24 in Washington, DC, where he is on an official week-long visit.
Prior to the halt, the Kurdish region was independently exporting 450,000 barrels of oil per day through the pipeline, which was also sending another 100,000 barrels of Iraqi oil from Kirkuk Province.
In order for the Kurdistan Region to receive a 12.6 percent share of Iraq’s budget annually, it has to sell 400,000 barrels of oil per day via the Iraqi oil-marketing company, known as SOMO, per the country’s budget law.
The further the delay persists, the bigger the losses will be, Dizayee explained.
Iraqi and Kurdistan Region officials have finished the technical preparations to an extent to resume the export, but Turkey’s concerns regarding Baghdad’s remaining lawsuits against Ankara on the Kurdish oil export might be a reason for the ongoing halt.
Turkey aims to make sure that the legal challenges will be dropped and “turn a new page” with Iraq, Dizayee said.
As part of his visit to the country, Dizayee on Monday supervised the handover ceremony of the KRG Representative to the US, as Treefa Aziz was inaugurated in the role, which was held by Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman for eight years.
Ms. Abdul Rahman will return to the capital Erbil, where she will be a senior advisor on foreign relations and climate change for Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.