Dr Mansurbeg: “History will applaud Nechirvan Barzani for investing in oil.”
Dr Howri Aziz Mansurbeg, university professor and specialist in energy, oil and gas investment said, in an interview with ‘The Kurdish Globe’, that history will praise the role of Nechirvan Barzani and all those who contribute to the Kurdistan Region’s oil policy. He believes that oil is a strategic and significant product on which the economies of the powerful and influential countries in Europe and the US depend, and that the lion's share of energy resources are provided by oil and natural gas.
“A typical example is Iran and Russia” says Mansurbeg, regarding the changes, wars and new disagreements in the Middle East and the future of oil. “The US and Saudi Arabia are now putting pressure on Iran and Russia to achieve political aims. On the other hand, Russia is threatening Europe by cutting the supplies of natural gas, to force them to withdraw their support for Ukraine. The dream of President Putin to modernize the Russian army and acquire more modern weapons, which needs billions of dollars, is hard to realize.” Dr Mansurbeg believes that by cutting the oil prices, the US is trying to thwart the political and military ambitions of Russia; Saudi Arabia also wants to put pressure on Iran because Iran poses a serious threat to it by supporting the Houthis in Yemen.
Dr Mansurbeg has histori- cal facts to support his opinion; he says the reason that President Nixon was ready to arm the Iranian Shah in the seventies was to enable access to Iranian oil. Iran, on its side, desired to dominate the Middle East and get more power leverage against the Soviet Union. The Iranian Shah, unlike the Arab countries, was not an enemy of Israel, and was not using oil as a weapon against the US and the West. But in the end, Shah’s insistence on raising oil prices was a factor behind losing its powerful position when the US turned its back on him.
Dr. Hawre Mansurbeg says that he is sure that since the Kurdish Region has introduced itself as an oil producer and has attracted major companies such as Exxon Mobil and Total, it has moved into the political calculations and interpretations of the super powers. He continued to talk about the obstacles, saying “Dealing with Kurdistan oil is not problem-free, and the oil industry in Kurdistan has many enemies, above all Iraq and Iran. Iraq always lobbies throughout the world against this Kurdish industry.” Dr Mansurbeg called on Kurds to carry on and be unified in defending this vital national industry. “The world companies and countries are not dealing with the oil and gas fields only, but with the whole political process, security and economical stability,” he argues.
Regarding the role of Nechirvan Barzani, he says that the policy should not be interpreted as an individual one. “Nechirvan Barzani performs his duty efficiently and as a well-qualified Prime Minister along with his deputy; the whole cabinet is in agreement about the methods of dealing with the government, although sometimes some groups in the political parties, through the media, stand against the Region’s oil policy.” Dr Mansurbeg says “Suggestions and points should be discussed inside the cabinet, and Kurds should reach a unified discourse. Criticism should not express individual ideas and different opinions of wings inside the political parties.”
He continues to talk about the oil production process; he says that Kurdistan is now producing oil in three main fields which are Tawke in Zakho, Khormala and Taqtaq near Koya. He says that a number of important fields have been found in Sheikhan, around Erbil, Akre and Garmiyan and works are ongoing to produce more oil. He thinks that these new fields will contribute to the general production in near future, and “the Kurdistan Region will easily be able to export 1 million bpd to the world market and the revenue will be higher than the money amount allocated by Baghdad.”
This specialist in oil and gas criticized some political parties and politicians in Kurdistan. He said that they haven’t yet been able to digest the matter as the legal right of the Kurdistan Region. “In the field of oil and gas, a particular specialist experience is needed. The political parties don’t seem to have totally figured this out.” He also says, mentioning articles he’s read about oil and gas policy written by MPs, “The quality of such articles and levels of criticism are much lower than the professional writing in the world. Many of the critiques are so simple and superficial that they cannot be thought of as objective professionalism,” he concluded.