Baghdad-Erbil oil dispute will get solved, says Hayward

ERBIL, September 8 (AKnews) – The Kurdistan Region’s oil plan is to produce one million barrels of oil per day over the next couple of years and this size of production will end the political dispute between Iraq and the region, said Genel chief executive Tony Hayward.

Hayward said: “The scale of the opportunity for Kurdistan and for Iraq is so large that there will be a resolution. “We’d like to be exporting and believe strongly that over the next year or so, if not well before, that resolution will be arrived at.”

Kurdish oil field Taq Taq is producing 105,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). Tawke is running at 70,000 bpd, but should be up to 100,000 bpd by the end of the year, said Hayward.

Erbil and Ankara agreed to build an export pipeline, which could be operational next year, to transport one million barrels of oil per day to Turkey. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) started trucking exports of crude oil to Turkey at the beginning of July despite a long-running dispute between Baghdad and Erbil.

Earlier the KRG set the end of August as a deadline for making payment, said a KRG statement.

The region restarted oil exports temporarily for a month during August after halting exports in April over a payment dispute. Then later the KRG decided to extend its oil exports to September 15 to give more time for discussion with Baghdad, said the region’s minister of natural resources.

Ashti Hawrami said: “We are in ongoing discussion with the Iraqi government about paying the foreign companies’ money so the region can continue exporting oil and increase the volume of exports.”

Baghdad has not paid Genel and a number of small companies yet for the majority of oil exported in 2009 and 2011, reported Reuters. The region wants to end the payment dispute with Baghdad. According to the KRG, Baghdad has to pay $1.5bn to companies making investments in the region.

During the last few months, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total signed contracts with the region to invest in the oil sector and neglected Baghdad’s threats and warnings, reported the Financial Times.

Exxon Mobil signed six oil contracts last year with Kurdistan. The contracts led to strong opposition from Baghdad, which says Kurdistan is not authorized to sign contracts for its oil. The Iraqi government later threatened to blacklist oil giants if they continue their contracts with the KRG.