Posted on September 8, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Corruption, Kirkuk, Oil & Gas
HEWLÊR-Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— A petroleum official said that 30,000 barrels of Kirkuk oil is being secretly exported to Iran every day without the knowledge of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and that companies and individuals linked to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party are involved.
Dr. Sherko Jawdat, the head of the natural resources committee in the Kurdish parliament, wrote on his Facebook page that the revenues from the smuggled oil also were unaccounted for.
“Without the knowledge of the Kurdistan Regional Government and Sulaimani governorate Kirkuk oil is being exported to Iran and its revenues are not known,” he wrote.
“Based on our follow-up we discovered that the exported oil is sent to Iran by some people and companies within the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s administration,” he said.
He further explained that the “amount of oil is exported with the agreement of the Iraqi North Oil company and the Iraqi government. It is 30,000 barrels a day and the revenue amounts to $30 million. Nobody knows in whose pocket the money makes its way.”
Jawdat added: “The same amount of Kirkuk oil is being transported to an illegal oil refinery in the town of Dukan and its revenues go to several people. This way, from both oil sales, $60 million of Kirkuk’s revenues go to several people.”
Ahmad Askari, the head of the oil and energy committee in the provincial Council of Kirkuk, told Rudaw he was not aware of the exports mentioned by Jawdat.
“Now all of Kirkuk’s oil is being exported to Turkey by the KRG pipelines in agreement with the Iraqi government. As the provincial council, we are not aware of oil exported illegally.”
On August 29, following negotiations between the KRG’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi, Erbil and Baghdad agreed to export 150,000 barrels of oil per day from the Baba Gurgur and Khabaza oil fields to Turkey’s Ceyhan port, via Kurdish pipelines. On the other end, at Ceyhan, each side then sells half of the oil.
Tehran and Erbil have had discussions over opening a pipeline that would give the Kurdistan Region access to international markets via Iran’s Persian Gulf. According to a 2014 report by the Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Naphtha and Fuel Oil was sometimes trucked through Iran to international markets.