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Iraq Expects Kurdistan Oil Exports to Restart Soon

The Iraqi government expects to reach an agreement with the government of the Kurdistan autonomous region to resume exports of crude oil soon, Iraq’s oil minister said, as quoted by Bloomberg.

“There is a progress in these negotiations, and we hope that in the coming few days we will reach a final understanding in this regard,” Hayyan Abdul Ghani said on Iraqi television. The statement followed a meeting with the Kurdistan energy minister and the international oil companies with operations in the autonomous region.

Crude oil exports from Kurdistan have now been halted for more than a year, after they were shut in in March 2023 due to a dispute over who should authorize the Kurdish exports.

The impasse followed an International Chamber of Commerce ruling in March 2023 in a dispute between Turkey and Iraq regarding Kurdistan oil. The ICC ruled in favor of Iraq, which had argued that Turkey should not allow Kurdish oil exports via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline and the Turkish port of Ceyhan without approval from the federal government of Iraq.

Months of tense negotiations followed between Iraq and Turkey and between Iraq and Kurdistan, with agreement remaining elusive. In January this year, the foreign companies operating Kurdish oil fields called on U.S. Congress for immediate action to help resolve halted crude oil exports from the autonomous Iraqi region. In a letter to Congress, the group said “The export of oil is the foundation of Iraq’s economy, and all Iraqis will benefit when full production and global sales resume from the Kurdistan Region.”

OPEC also joined the party, reportedly asking the Kurdistan government to allow the export of 200,000 bpd of crude via the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The Kurdish news agency that published the report back in April said that the request had then been forwarded to the government in Baghdad.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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