Iraq says Kurdistan smuggling oil through
April 2, 2012
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs
Hussein al-Shahristani (R) and Oil Minister
Abdelkarim al-Luaybi hold a joint press conference
in Baghdad on April 2, 2012. Photo: Getty
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BAGHDAD, — Iraq's Kurdistan region, which
has halted crude exports in a row with Baghdad, owes
the central government more than $5 billion and is
smuggling the oil it produces through Iran, Iraqi
officials said Monday.
"Kurdistan does not have any refineries to refine
oil, so the biggest part is being smuggled outside
Iraq, especially through the Iranian border," Deputy
Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussein al-Shahristani
told a news conference.
Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi said the
government had detailed information on trafficking
routes being used, including to Afghanistan.
"We have detailed reports on the areas from which
the oil is being smuggled, going in the direction of
Iran, and which then goes to the Gulf through Bandar
Abbas and Bandar Khomeini, and is being sold at
lower prices than global prices," Luaybi told the
same news conference.
"There are some quantities (of oil) that are going
to Afghanistan through Iran," he added.
Kurdistan on Sunday stopped its crude exports
entirely after arguing the central government had
withheld $1.5 billion owed to foreign oil companies
working in the region.
"After consultation with the producing companies,
the ministry (of natural resources) has reluctantly
decided to halt exports until further notice," the
Kurdistan regional government said in a statement on
"There have been no payments for 10 months, nor any
indication from federal authorities that payments
The statement said exports would be diverted to the
local market for processing and refining.
Shahristani said Kurdistan had deprived the central
government of billions of dollars by its reduced
"The total value of oil which has not been exported
in 2011 is $3.547 billion, and for the year 2010,www.ekurd.net
the value of oil that has not been handed over by
the region is $2.102 billion," he said.
"The government must look into procedures to protect
the wealth of Iraqis and to take back this right,"
he said, adding the funds lost should be cut from
Kurdistan's allocation in the federal budget.
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