Iraqi Kurds OK Abu Dhabi’s Taqa Plans to Pump Oil

Kur­dis­tan-Turkey pipe­line to com­plete by end of 2013

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment au­thor­i­ties have given the green light to a con­sor­tium led by a United Arab Emi­rates state-run en­ergy in­vest­ment com­pany to pump oil, a state­ment said Mon­day, in a lat­est move shows the Kurds> de­ter­mi­na­tion to pur­sue am­bi­tious oil plans de­spite cen­tral govern­ment ob­jec­tions.

Kur­dis­tan Re­gion and the cen­tral govern­ment in Bagh­dad have been in a long-run­ning dis­pute over rights to de­velop nat­u­ral re­sources, with each side re­ly­ing on a dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion. Bagh­dad says it is the sole au­thor­ity to ne­go­ti­ate and award deals, while Kurds ar­gue that the con­sti­tu­tion al­lows them to do so without go­ing through the Fed­eral Oil Min­istry.

In its state­ment, Abu Dhabi Na­tional En­ergy Co., known as Taqa, said it plans to spend more than $300 mil­lion in the first phase of a plan to pump about 30,000 bar­rels a day from the Atrush block by early 2015. The state­ment added that the se­cond phase, yet to be ap­proved, is ex­pected to add an­other 30,000 bar­rels a day.

TAQA and its part­ners are also eval­u­at­ing the fea­si­bil­ity of pro­duc­ing as­so­ci­ated gas, a by-prod­uct of pro­duc­ing oil, for de­liv­ery to the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

The deal, which was signed in 2012, is one of scores the Kurds have signed uni­lat­er­ally since the 2003 U.S.-led in­va­sion that top­pled Sad­dam Hus­sein and paved the way for broader Kur­dish au­ton­omy.

Taqa, which is ma­jor­ity owned by the oil-rich govern­ment of Abu Dhabi though more than a quar­ter of its shares are avail­able to the pub­lic, holds 39.9 per­cent of the con­sor­tium. ShaMaran Pe­tro­leum Corp., a Kur­dish oil com­pany, has 20.1 per­cent, the U.S. Marathon Oil Corp. has a 15 per­cent share and Kur­dis­tan has the re­main­ing 25 per­cent.

Kur­dish of­fi­cials claim their re­gion holds 45 bil­lion bar­rels, though that fig­ure can­not be con­firmed in­de­pen­dently. They plan to pro­duce one mil­lion bar­rels per day by 2015 and two mil­lion bar­rels per day in 2019.

On the other hands and as an at­tempt to re­al­ize these tar­gets, the KRG has reached an agree­ment with the Turk­ish Govern­ment to ex­tend an oil pipe­line di­rectly from Kur­dis­tan Re­gion to Turkey, which would by­pass the Iraqi cen­tral govern­ment in ex­port­ing Kur­dish oil. De­spite the out­rage of the cen­tral govern­ment of­fi­cials, Kurds have been in­sist­ing on pur­su­ing the project, and the KRG Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Dr. Ashti Hawrami, said ear­lier this month that the project is pro­gress­ing very well and in a few months it will be ready to pump oil to Turkey.

“The new oil ex­port pipe­line from the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is al­most com­plete and is ex­pected to be op­er­a­tional by the end of the year,” Dr Hawrami said. “We are help­ing the se­cu­rity and con­ti­nu­ity of en­ergy sup­ply to the world.”

He added, <Shar­ing all oil rev­enues ac­cord­ing to the fed­eral con­sti­tu­tion, and the eco­nomic in­de­pen­dence of Kur­dis­tan are the recipe for the unity of Iraq.>

The min­is­ter was speak­ing at a meet­ing ad­dress­ing en­ergy se­cu­rity, hosted by the KRG UK Rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Other speak­ers were Nad­him Za­hawi MP, Jane Kin­nin­mont of the think tank Chatham House, an­a­lyst and con­sul­tant Sh­wan Zu­lal, and Bayan Sami Ab­dul Rah­man, the KRG>s High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the UK. The meet­ing was chaired by Robert Hal­fon MP, vice-chair­man of the All-Party Par­lia­men­tary Group on the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

Dr Hawrami told an au­di­ence of Con­ser­va­tive Party mem­bers, diplo­mats, jour­nal­ists, busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives and an­a­lysts that Kur­dis­tan Re­gion>s en­ergy riches had been ig­nored or used against the Kur­dish peo­ple un­der pre­vi­ous Iraqi gov­ern­ments. <With the lib­er­a­tion of Iraq, a new era, an op­por­tu­nity for shar­ing power and wealth, opened up in Iraq. The Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion fa­cil­i­tates that but so far it hasn>t been im­ple­mented,> he said.

The min­is­ter also noted that the KRG sees Turkey not just as a con­duit for Kur­dis­tan>s oil and gas to Western mar­kets, but also as a con­sumer and part­ner. Dr Hawrami high­lighted the role of Bri­tish com­pa­nies in the en­ergy sec­tor as well as in Kur­dis­tan>s grow­ing econ­omy gen­er­ally. He en­cour­aged Bri­tish com­pa­nies to con­tinue to look at Kur­dis­tan as a des­ti­na­tion for their in­vest­ment. <We have a good re­la­tion­ship with Bri­tain and there are lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties for Bri­tish com­pa­nies. It>s a win-win

A tech­ni­cian works in an oil­field in Iraqi Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. File Photo.

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