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The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq received US$328 million from crude oil exports in September. The average daily amount that flowed by pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan was 564,808 barrels. For the whole month of September, the KRG shipped a total of 16.94 million barrels of crude, the autonomous province’s Ministry of Natural Resources said.
The total export figure represents more than a 4-million-barrel increase on August, the Ministry said. The average price at which the crude was sold was US$36.10, another improvement on the previous month when Kurdish oil sold for an average of US$32.44 a barrel.
Kurdistan and the central Iraqi government in Baghdad have been at odds over who gets what share of the petrodollars flowing from exports of oil in the northern Iraqi province. In early September, the governor of Kirkuk, the main city of the province and also home to the biggest oilfields there, said it’s not impossible for Kirkuk to secede.
Although Iraq’s PM said Baghdad will not oppose such a development, it’s uncertain whether in reality Iraq will be fine with losing a major portion of its oil output.
A month earlier, in August, Baghdad reached an agreement with the KRG to resume crude oil exports from three fields in the Kirkuk area, which was estimated to add some 150,000 barrels per day to the total exported by OPEC’s second-largest producer. Oil pumped by Iraq’s North Oil Company from the Kirkuk fields is exported via a KRG-controlled pipeline. In March, Baghdad and the KRG had run into a dispute over payments for oil shipped via the pipeline, which led to the suspension of shipments.
The Kurdistan Regional Government and Baghdad now need each other more than ever, despite their differences, as a major battle against IS approaches. The Iraqi army, its U.S.-led allies and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces are preparing to take on the last big stronghold of the terrorist group: Mosul. If the attack is successful, this will mark a major step towards wiping out the IS’ presence in Iraq, though it will not be the last step.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.