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Oil Firms Urge U.S. to Pressure Iraq to Restart Kurdistan’s Exports

The international oil companies operating in Kurdistan are calling on U.S. Congress for immediate action to help resolve halted crude oil exports from the semi-autonomous region in Iraq.

The Association of the Petroleum Industry of Kurdistan (APIKUR) has written a letter to Congress in which it “stresses the urgent need for U.S. congressional action to encourage the Iraqi Prime Minister to resolve the oil production and export impasse prior to his upcoming U.S. visit.”

“APIKUR remains committed to the Kurdistan Region and urges the U.S. Congress to support efforts to resume full oil production and exports, essential for regional economic stability and security,” the association said.

Iraq is currently exporting crude oil only via its southern oil export terminals, with around 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of exports from the northern fields in Kurdistan shut in since 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.

“This solution includes resumption of oil exports from the Kurdistan Region into the international markets with payment and contractual certainty for western and American companies to resume operations,” Myles B. Caggins III, APIKUR spokesman, said in a statement. 

“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.”

Ten months after the Kurdish oil export route was shut over disputes, Kurdistan’s oil continues to be held back from the market due to disagreements over payments to the oil companies, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani told Bloomberg in an interview earlier this month.

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In November, Norwegian firm DNO, one of the six members of APIKUR, said that the international oil companies operating in Kurdistan would not be producing oil for exports until they have clarity about overdue and future payments and sales terms.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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