KRG to tap oil sales to pay companies

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said it will allocate to international oil companies working in the Kurdish region of Iraq some of the revenue it receives from direct crude oil sales at Ceyhan, Turkey.

It also condemned recent attacks on crucial export pipelines (OGJ Online, July 30, 2015).

In an Aug. 3 statement, the KRG Ministry of Natural Resources acknowledged that license-holders have received little payment for their production since May 2015 but have continued their operations.

“They have demonstrated their commitment to the people of Kurdistan at a time when the region has been fighting terrorism, enduring a budget shortfall from the federal government in Baghdad, and shouldering the social, political, and economic burden of an influx of 1.8 million refugees and internally displaced people,” it said.

The KRG at the beginning of this year reached a deal with the Iraqi government to export crude in exchange for regular payments of the Kurdistan region’s entitlement of 17% of Iraqi revenue (OGJ Online, Nov. 17, 2014). It also is using its pipeline link to the trans-Turkey pipeline to facilitate exports by Iraq’s North Oil Co. from Kirkuk.

But the federal government hasn’t been able to maintain its payments to the KRG.

“As a result, the KRG has been obliged to introduce direct crude oil sales from Ceyhan to help pay Kurdistan Region’s governmental salaries, maintain vital government services, and of course pay the Peshmerga and other security forces who are fighting Islamic State terrorists,” the statement said.

In separate statements, the natural resources ministry and the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region Council of Ministers addressed pipeline sabotage.

On July 31, the latter group said the People’s Protection Force, part of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), had claimed responsibility for the July 29 bombing of the export pipeline in Sirnak province of Turkey. The PKK has conducted terrorist operations in Turkey for many years.

“We call on the PKK to stop the recurrence of such hostile acts against the people of Kurdistan Region,” the statement said.

On Aug. 2, without naming the PKK, the natural resources ministry condemned “repeated attempted thefts and sabotage attacks” on pipelines between Kurdistan and Ceyhan.

It said the attacks have nearly stopped oil flow to Ceyhan and have cost the KRG more than $250 million.

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