Kurds demand their share of Iraq's oil wealth

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share
(Bloomberg Images)

(Bloomberg Images)

Iraqi Kurdistan threatened on Wednesday to take legal action against buyers of the country's oil unless the autonomous region is paid its share of revenue from any sales.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said buyers of Iraqi oil were complicit in violating the constitution because the Baghdad central government has cut the region's 17 percent entitlement of the national budget.

It is unclear whether the threat will influence major buyers of Iraqi crude, but it nevertheless illustrates the KRG's increasingly assertive stance in a long-running dispute with Baghdad over control of its natural resources.

Baghdad has slashed the KRG's budget since January as punishment for the region's moves to export and sell oil directly on international markets, also threatening legal action against buyers of Kurdish crude.

"The KRG has the right, in circumstances where the Iraqi federal government is not sharing revenues in accordance with the Iraqi constitution, to take such action as the KRG considers appropriate to obtain all entitlements the Iraqi federal government is required to pay to the KRG under the Iraqi constitution," said a statement from the region's Ministry of Natural Resources in Arbil.

"Buyers who fail to make such payments to the KRG will be facilitating the Iraqi federal government's breach of the KRG's rights and passing to the Iraqi federal government monies that rightfully belong to the KRG."

Last week, the Kurds threatened to counter-sue the federal government for trying to block its sales in a strongly worded letter that reflects growing confidence as Baghdad struggles to counter insurgents that have overrun swathes of the country.

The dispute has intensified since the Kurds began exporting oil via a new pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan earlier this year.

The autonomous region has been exporting around 125,000 barrels per day to Ceyhan and plans to double that number, but has so far struggled to sell some of the tankers as potential buyers have come under pressure from Baghdad.

Of the four tankers that have loaded the KRG's pipeline oil since May, only one has successfully delivered into an Israeli port after executing a ship-to-ship transfer in the Mediterranean. The buyer has not yet been revealed.

The destinations of the other 3 remain unclear. One has been sitting off the coast of Morocco, another is shown by tanker tracking data to have sailed through the Suez Canal this week with its destination listed as South Africa. Details about the third tanker are not known.

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
End of Gaza war doesn't translate into peace

End of Gaza war doesn't translate into peace

A week after the guns fell silent in the Gaza war, Israel and...

Is this the end of the Gulf’s Indian cash dash?

Is this the end of the Gulf’s Indian cash dash?

From currency woes to taxation loopholes closing and a clampdown...

2
Q&A with Dubai Chamber

Q&A with Dubai Chamber

We spoke with Essa Al Zaabi of Dubai Chamber of Commerce to find...

Most Discussed