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Kurdish Parties Squabble Over Oil Revenues

Political parties in the Kurdistan autonomous region of Iraq are quarreling over the share each of them gets from oil trade, according to the secretary of the Kurdistan Social Democratic Party, Muhammad Haji Mahmoud, who spoke to the Voice of America.

According to Mahmoud, the five parties all set up oil companies to ensure revenue streams in 2014, after the latest government entered into office. Now, however, they seem to be unhappy with their share of the goodies, and are insisting on a bigger piece of the pie.

A governmental crisis hit Kurdistan two years ago, after the end of President Massoud Barzani’s term in office. Barzani refused to relinquish control and remained in office, although unofficially, as this goes counter to Kurdish laws.

His party—the Kurdistan Democratic Party—is currently in power, it’s power solidified in late 2015 after PM Nechirvan Barzani expelled four ministers from another party, Gorran, from the cabinet for, as EKurd Daily put it, “instigating violent unrest for political gain.”

The Kurdistan autonomous region is home to some of the largest oil fields in Iraq, and the Regional Government’s problems don’t end with local parties. The KRG has been locked in arguments with the central government in Baghdad over payments for oil exports, and allegedly over oil shipments made without approval from Baghdad.

Related: Independent Audit Confirms Saudi Aramco’s Huge Oil Reserves

Earlier this month, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, accused the KRG of shipping more crude to Turkey than it was supposed to as per the OPEC November agreement on output cuts. According to Al-Abadi, Kurdistan was exporting “more than the 17 percent stated in the budget.”

This 17-percent portion amounts to 250,000 bpd from fields under the control of the KRG. However, as Reuters notes, this allocation does not include the fields around Kirkuk – a wealth of oil that is under the de facto control of Erbil, but are officially under the umbrella of the Baghdad-run North Oil Company.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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