U.S. hails Erbil-Baghdad Oil Accord; Calls for Resumption of Oil Exports ‘As Quickly as Possible’
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – Amb. Geoffrey Pyatt, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Energy Resources, addressing journalists on Tuesday, had high praise for the agreement recently concluded between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi federal government on the resumption of Kurdish oil exports, following their suspension after an adverse ruling, based on a Saddam-era regulation, by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration (ICC-ICA.)
Read More: Deal to resume Kurdish oil exports reached
The April 3 Erbil-Baghdad agreement overcomes the legal hurdles to Kurdish oil exports through the pipeline to Turkey’s port of Ceyhan, which the ICC-ICA cited in its ruling. Turkey has yet to resume them, however, and Pyatt called for doing so “as quickly as possible.”
Pyatt underscored the significance of the statement issued by National Security Council Advisor, Jake Sullivan, on Friday, as Sullivan became the most senior U.S. official to welcome the Erbil-Baghdad oil agreement.
In his statement, Sullivan also hailed a separate deal between Baghdad and the French company, TotalEnergies, to upgrade Iraq’s energy infrastructure. That work includes ending the practice of flaring natural gas produced by drilling oil and utilizing it, instead, as another energy source.
Sullivan’s “statement on Friday reflects the strong level of U.S. support” for the Erbil-Baghdad accord, Pyatt said in response to a question from Kurdistan 24, while he noted “the attention that we have paid to this issue across the U.S. Government, including with our teams at our embassies in Baghdad and Ankara.”
“There are a variety of reasons” for that support, Pyatt explained. One is the “significant American investment in the upstream oil and gas sector in northern Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.”
“So we are keenly focused on finding a mechanism to see that the [oil] flows are restored as quickly as possible,” he added. “We remain engaged with our Turkish allies, as well, to facilitate this agreement and the resumption of flows through Ceyhan.”
Pyatt also emphasized Sullivan’s “strong support” for the agreement between Baghdad and TotalEnergies, which also involves Qatar and includes “measures to address venting and flaring in the upstream sector in Iraq.”
The agreement creates “a tremendous opportunity to achieve additional gains for the Iraqi people,” Pyatt stated, while it contributes to efforts to reduce global warming by limiting the release of methane gas into the atmosphere.
Finally, Pyatt stressed that the U.S. remains “closely engaged” in promoting Iraq’s agreement with TotalEnergies, as well as the oil accord between the KRG and federal government.
“We hope for full and speedy implementation of the new agreement between Baghdad and Erbil,” he concluded.