Baghdad calls for an urgent meeting with Erbil to resume oil production

Baghdad calls for an urgent meeting with Erbil to resume oil production

Shafaq News/ Iraq's federal oil ministry on Tuesday called for an "urgent" meeting with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and operating companies to expedite oil production in the autonomous region.

In an official statement released earlier today, the federal oil ministry said it was "keen to resume production in the fields located in the Kurdistan region and resume exports through the northern pipeline system in the national interest."

The ministry invited the KRG's natural resources ministry and international oil companies operating in the region to hold a meeting in Baghdad" as soon as possible" to discuss the matter and reach an agreement to accelerate the resumption of production and export of oil produced through the Turkish port of Ceyhan, in accordance with the quantities specified in the budget law.

The call comes amid a long-running dispute between the federal government and the KRG over oil exports. The KRG has been independently exporting oil from its fields, while the federal government has insisted that all exports must go through the state-run Iraqi Oil Marketing Company (SOMO).

The dispute has led to a reduction in oil exports from Iraq, which is one of OPEC's largest producers. The two sides have held several rounds of talks in recent months, but no agreement has been reached.

Oil exports from the Kurdistan region via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline were halted on 23 March 2023 following a ruling by a Paris-based arbitration court in favor of Baghdad against Ankara. The court determined that Ankara breached a 1973 agreement by allowing Erbil to begin independent oil exports in 2014.

The prolonged closure of the pipeline has resulted in significant losses for both Baghdad and Erbil. It has stopped the daily export of 450,000 barrels of crude oil, which constitutes about 0.5% of the global oil supply.

Negotiations have stalled due to conflicting demands among Ankara, Baghdad, and Erbil. Baghdad considers the production-sharing agreements between the Kurds and foreign companies illegal, as per a ruling by Iraq's Supreme Federal Court. The Iraqi federal government insists that foreign oil companies negotiate new contracts with the Iraqi oil ministry.

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