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 Iraqi Kurdistan govt KRG finds refined oil alternative in Turkey

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Iraqi Kurdistan govt KRG finds refined oil alternative in Turkey  21.5.2012  

Kurdistan Regional Government Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami (R) shakes hands with Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz during a joint news conference in Kurdistan region capital, Erbil. May 20,2012. Photo: Reuters See Related Links
May 21, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Resolving internal conflict over oil and gas revenues is essential to creating a stable and unified Iraq, Kurdistan’s energy minister, Dr. Ashti Hawrami, told an industry conference in Erbil on Sunday.

“If you implement the revenue sharing -- when everybody feels he’s an Iraqi and getting part of the wealth that he deserves -- that will unite Iraq; that will create the new security for Iraq and remove the tensions that everyone is scared of,” Hawrami told reporters at the 1st International Energy Arena – Erbil.

Without a resolution, Hawrami said, “I don’t know what Iraq means. Iraq means fairness. Fairness means revenue sharing, because that is what we have that binds us, as Iraqis, together.”

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is involved in an ongoing dispute with the federal Iraqi government in Baghdad over the country’s oil and gas revenue.

Hawrami and his Turkish counterpart Taner Yildiz earlier announced a proposed joint venture between the KRG and Turkey that would diminish the region’s dependence on the federal government.

Without its own refineries, Kurdistan relies on central Iraq to process the crude oil it produces. Although Baghdad is supposed to deliver 140,000 barrels of refined crude each year, the KRG says it has only received 35,000 barrels of what it’s due.

Today’s proposed project will send tankers of Kurdish crude oil to Turkey to be refined and returned to Kurdistan.

Yildiz stressed that Turkey did not want to interfere in Iraq’s internal disputes. “Any investment in Northern Iraq,” he said, “will contribute to the entirety of the country.”

Turkey, he added, is investing in Venezuela and Colombia’s energy sector and “could not stay indifferent to a region just a few hundred kilometers from Turkey.”

The enhanced cooperation between the two neighbors, Hawrami said, is about creating “a broader infrastructure in the field of energy cooperation, exporters monetizing our gas, which is idle rather than burning, finding a better home for it, solving problems with it, creating more capital for Iraq.”

By Hermione Gee

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