Kurdistan has begun exporting crude oil to Turkey, which has agreed to refine it and send back the fuel, violating a red line for Baghdad, which claims sole right to export the country’s oil.
“We started exporting limited quantities of crude oil to Turkey a few days ago,” Seerwan Abubaqr, an adviser to the Kurdistan government’s natural resources ministry, told AFP.
An Iraqi Kurdistan official said on Sunday that crude was being exported to Turkey so it could be refined into various products before being brought back to Kurdistan, AFP reported.
In May, Kurdistan and Turkey agreed they would press ahead with building an export pipeline which could be operational next year, according to Arabian Gazette.
Turkish Prime Minister Receb Taib Erdogan said in Brazil: “Iraq’s government stopped exporting oil derivatives and fuel to the Kurdistan Region. Thus they asked for fuel and we agreed. Instead they will provide us with crude oil.”
Autonomous Kurdistan is locked in a dispute with Baghdad over who should control the region’s vast oil reserves.
In April the Kurdistan halted exports through infrastructure controlled by the central Iraqi government – accusing Baghdad of not paying the foreign oil companies working in the region. The KRG administration insists Baghdad has neglected the reigon’s needs.
KRG administration says Baghdad has barred the dispatch of petroleum products to the northern region in response to the autonomous government’s decision to go ahead with oil exploration deals with other foreign countries, which the Iraqi oil ministry persistently denies, according to Arabian Gazette.
The Kurdistan region has its own elected government and also a well-trained militia force called the Peshmerga.