|Iraqi Kurds Assert Economic Independence|
Despite opposition from the Iraqi central government, the Kurds have managed to increase their sale in oil revenues by 60% and assert their economic independence.
In the wake of a dispute over the oil revenues with the central government in Baghdad, the KRG is asserting economic independence from the rest of Iraq. After Maliki ceased paying the region’s share of the government’s budget, the KRG started operating its own oil pipeline to Turkey, completely bypassing the central government in Baghdad.
According to a report in the Financial Times, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani stated that he would be willing to give the central government a chance for reconciliation in the name of the joint struggle against IS, but they would insist on getting the entire 17 percent that they are entitled to via their own oil sales: “We will not give full control of the oil sales to Baghdad again. That is not possible. We need a mechanism that won’t allow Baghdad to disrupt the budget for the region.”
Middle East Eye reports that the KRG plans to export 400,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of this year and increase the amount to 500,000 barrels per day by the end of the first quarter of 2015. Already, the KRG has exported 34.5 million barrels since January 2014.
“The KRG remains on track to meet its production target of 1 million barrels per day by end 2015/early 2016. On behalf of the people of the Kurdistan Region, the KRG exercises its Constitutional rights to manage, produce, market and sell the natural resources located under its control,” the Kurdish government stated.
Due to the crisis in Iraq created by IS, Kurdish oil revenues have increased 60%, despite opposition from the Iraqi central government, Voltaire Net reported. Since IS has advanced, the Kurdish authorities have seized Kirkuk’s oil fields, which effectively increased the area under their jurisdiction by 40%. While the Iraqi central government has initiated a lawsuit against the Kurds, this has not stopped the Kurds from selling oil at the Turkish port of Ceyhan for the international price of $83 per barrel and sometimes at a slight discount.