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Global Energy Advisory – 6th March 2015

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

Anxious Times For Kurdistan Producers

It’s not an easy time to be a producer in Iraqi Kurdistan, where there is much promise, and a lot is coming out the ground, but no one’s getting paid yet. The December deal between the Kurds and the Iraqi central government to share oil revenues remains incredibly fragile. Baghdad claims the Kurds are pumping as much oil as they should be, while the Kurds say they haven’t been paid their share of the federal budget as promised. This means that producers aren’t getting paid, even though they’ve been pumping oil for almost a year. The Kurds can’t afford to pay them, particularly not now when most of their budget is going to secure the Kirkuk oil fields from the Islamic State (IS) and to fight back IS in the Kurdish areas of Syria. One producer, Gulf Keystone, is already giving up—selling its assets before it runs out of cash. Once again, the Kurds are threatening Baghdad that they will halt shipments to protest the lack of payment. There are nuances to this deal that will tricky to maneuver. For one thing, the Kurds are producing oil in Kirkuk, but Kirkuk is not officially part of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)—it is essentially territory disputed between Erbil and Baghdad. Baghdad has only paid a small portion of the budget cash it promised the Kurds, using the argument that the Kurds aren’t pumping as much oil as they promised…

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