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Kurdistan’s oil to Iran and Turkey

Two important developments worth to be followed regarding Iraq’s Kurdistan oil exports. First, the Kurdish authorities dismissed US timid warnings to stop oil exports to Iran. These exports continued on a business-as-usual fashion after the statement issued by the US embassy in Baghdad. The second is that Norway DNO has almost finished building the strategically important Kurdistan – Turkey pipeline.

A little over 30,000 b/d are trucked from Erbil and elsewhere to Iran. The operation is run by a network in the Kurdish town with full knowledge of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The US consulate in Erbil issued a communique demanding the end of oil exports to Iran, but no one in Erbil. However, the flow of oil went on.

The communique reiterated US position regarding Kurdistan’s oil in general. “We call upon both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to work out their differences through dialogue without delay in order to enhance Iraq’s investment climate and the prospect of greater prosperity for all Iraqis” an official at the consulate said.

But this statement is disregarded by Kurdish officials as well. In a matter of two months the Taq-Taq-Khurmala-Fish Khabur pipeline will start pumping oil from Kurdistan to Turkey.

In Baghdad, the common understanding is that US opposition to Kurdish oil exports is “symbolic”. In Erbil, a Kurdish official told MIDDLE EAST BREIFING (MEB) “the Americans do not want us to do business with Iran or Turkey. Instead, they want us to send our oil to Baghdad which does business with Iran and Turkey”.

It is estimated that Kurdistan will be able to export 320,000 b/d starting 2014. KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani suggested that crude oil exports could rise to 1 million barrels of oil a day by 2015 and to 2 million barrels of oil a day by 2019, in a report by EIA.

The Kurdish oil is probably re-exported from Iran to other neighboring countries. Kurdish sources expect a slight increase in its total amount in the next few months.

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