Iraq government reaches deal with Kurds on oil exports

Iraq government reaches deal with Kurds on oil exports

Iraq’s central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in the north have reached an agreement that resolves a long-running dispute over oil exports and budget payments.

Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari said 550,000 barrels per day of oil would be sent to the Iraqi oil ministry.

In return, the Kurds will receive their 17% share of the national budget.

They had threatened to boycott Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s new unity government over the dispute.

Mr Abadi’s administration was formed with the backing of Iraq’s various ethnic, religious and political factions in September to deal with the crisis caused by the seizure by Islamic State (IS) militants of large parts of the country’s north and west.

‘Win-win deal’

For more than a year, the government in Baghdad has withheld budget payments to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in retaliation for its efforts to export oil unilaterally to Turkey.

The KRG said it needed the money to meet its growing security needs, pay public sector employees and fund infrastructure projects.

Tuesday’s agreement stipulates that the KRG will export 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from its fields around the city of Irbil through its pipeline to Turkey, where it will be handed over to the Iraqi national State Organisation for Marketing of Oil (SOMO).




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