Oil com­pa­nies dis­re­gard Bagh­dad threats

Min­is­ter Hawrami wel­comes En­ergy In­dus­tries Coun­cil del­e­ga­tion from UK

The Kurdish Globe - - EDITORIAL -

The UK’s lead­ing trade as­so­ci­a­tion for oil and gas sup­plies and ser­vices last Thurs­day con­cluded its first mis­sion to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

Dr Ashti Hawrami, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government’s Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, met the del­e­ga­tion from the En­ergy In­dus­tries Coun­cil (EIC), which was ac­com­pa­nied by the Bri­tish Con­sul Gen­eral Hugh Evans.

Af­ter their meet­ing Min­is­ter Hawrami said, “I’m pleased to wel­come this im­por­tant del­e­ga­tion from the EIC to Kur­dis­tan. We dis­cussed ex­pand­ing our re­la­tions in oil and gas ser­vices and hav­ing more dis­cus­sions in Er­bil and Lon­don be­tween the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion and UK busi­nesses.”

Terry Wil­lis, the mis­sion leader and the EIC’s Mid­dle East Di­rec­tor, said, “We met all of the ma­jor play­ers - the main oil and gas op­er­a­tors, con­trac­tors, rel­e­vant government de­part­ments. This visit has been very en­light­en­ing and has made us con­fi­dent of the huge amount of op­por­tu­ni­ties that ex­ist for the UK sup­ply chain.”

He added, “What struck us is the ease of do­ing busi­ness here. We are look­ing to find ini­tia­tives to get the mes­sage out in the UK about the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.”

Dur­ing their seven-day visit the EIC del­e­ga­tion learned about the dy­nam­ics of the oil and gas in­dus­try of Kur­dis­tan, met lo­cal com­pa­nies in or­der to gain an un­der­stand­ing of the lo­cal busi­ness cul­ture and seek busi­ness tie-ups, and learned about the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources’ pre­qual­i­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dures for ser­vices providers.

The Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources has put in place a pre-qual­i­fi­ca­tion process for oil and gas ser­vices to en­sure that those which are qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced op­er­ate here, that they fol­low good work­ing prac­tices and pro­vide em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cals.

The mis­sion was or­ga­nized with the as­sis­tance of the KRG UK Rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Lon­don. The mis­sion com­prised eight Bri­tish oil and gas ser­vices providers and was sup­ported by UKTI, the UK government’s trade and in­vest­ment agency. The mis­sion par­tic­i­pants were: Agility Lo­gis­tics; At­mos In­ter­na­tional pipe­line soft­ware; De­ci­sive Op­er­a­tions per­son­nel train­ing providers; Gar­lock seal­ing prod­ucts man­u­fac­turer; Man­lift tem­po­rary power gen­er­a­tors; Mott MacDon­ald which cov­ers a very wide range of busi­ness ar­eas; On­stream equip­ment providers and project and tech­ni­cal re­cruit­ment; and Triple­fast fas­ten­ers and seal­ing prod­ucts providers.

Min­is­ter Hawrami com­mented dur­ing the press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing the meet­ing on the ten­sions be­tween Bagh­dad and Er­bil about the re­gion’s oil ac­tiv­i­ties. “Cur­rently 50 [in­ter­na­tional oil] com­pa­nies work in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, which have in­vested US$10 to 20 bil­lion in ex­plor­ing oil,” Hawrami an­swered a re­porter ask­ing about risks of work­ing in Kur­dis­tan’s oil sec­tor. “They are not afraid of the threats by the Bagh­dad government, since their threats are il­le­gal and non­con­sti­tu­tional, and no one cares about them.”

Kur­dish Min­is­ter also added that when Bagh­dad threat­ens, the com­pa­nies come and ask for more con­tracts and oil­fields and they do not lis­ten to such threats. “Nei­ther Exxon Mo­bil lis­tens to the threats from Bagh­dad. They have re­it­er­ated in their of­fi­cial web­site that they are com­mit­ted to the oil con­tracts they have signed all over Iraq.”

Min­is­ter Hawrami also com­ments about his min­istry’s oil rev­enues and said the rev­enues are trans­par­ent, and it is clear that they are spent to serve the re­gion’s ci­ti­zens, for in­stance “ev­ery year IQD 3 to 4 tril­lion [ap­prox­i­mately US$ 2.5 to 3.5 bil­lion] is spent on fuel for gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity as well as the fuel di­rectly dis­trib­uted over ci­ti­zens via the gov­er­norates.”

In ad­di­tion to those, Hawrami ar­gued that Re­gion’s oil rev­enues are spent on projects like Duhok’s water project, Duhok Air­port, build­ing houses for mar­tyrs’ fam­i­lies in Garmian and many other pub­lic ser­vice projects.

Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources also ad­dressed the is­sue of ex­port­ing oil to Iran and Turkey.

“The oil we ex­port to Turkey and Iran is ac­cord­ing to the law and the con­sti­tu­tion, and at the same time it is a right of Kurd- is­tan Re­gion,” Hawrami told re­porters. “This is be­cause while the Iraqi government is sup­posed to share 17% of pe­tro­leum prod­ucts with Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, they only share 3% with us. It is our right to fill this gap in our fuel de­mand. And when our re­finer­ies do not have the ca­pac­ity to meet our de­mand, we are forced to ex­change our crude oil with re­fined prod­ucts of Iran and Turkey.”

KRG Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Dr. Ashti Hawrami speaks dur­ing a press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing his meet­ing with the EIC dele­da­tion in Er­bil, Fe­bru­ary 7, 2013.

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