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Global Energy Advisory 11th March 2016

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

• For the Iraqi Kurds, as we’ve stated numerous times over the past several years, an independence bid was always really contingent on whether they could get control of oil-rich Kirkuk. Kirkuk lies in the disputed belt between territory controlled by the central Iraqi government and territory controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Right now, it’s a flashpoint in the battle against the Islamic State (ISIS). But the ISIS encroachment on Kirkuk, while it poses a security threat to the KRG right on its border, also is an opportunity for the KRG. Without the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Baghdad would have lost Kirkuk to the Islamic State long ago. Now the Kurds are taking advantage of the situation in earnest to bring Kirkuk—home to 10 percent of Iraq’s oil reserves--into the KRG fold. Earlier this week, KRG authorities came out with a show of support for Kirkuk’s plan to create its own oil company, which would be detached from the Iraqi state-run North Oil Company (NOC). Kirkuk and the Kurds are falling back on Iraqi constitution legal ease that apparently allows for the establishment of a separate oil company if local production exceeds 100,000 bpd, and it’s already exceeded 150,000 bpd. The local government of Kirkuk wants more control over its own oil, and the Kurds have agreed to deposit $10 million a month into a Kirkuk account in this new deal. The is the Kurds’ second…

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