Iraqi Kurd Oil Exports Seen at 175,000 Bpd in 2012

Source: Reuters 11/13/2011, Location: Middle East

Iraq's semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region has agreed with the central government to boost the region's crude oil exports to 175,000 barrels per day next year, Kurdish Prime Minister Barham Salih said. Exports from the region, which were restarted in February following a long halt due to a dispute with Baghdad, had reached as high as 160,000 bpd in recent months.

Salih met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad recently to discuss oil disputes between the central government and the semi-autonomous northern region. Iraqi officials said the two had agreed during the meeting to work on amendments to a controversial oil law.

"During our recent visit to Baghdad we also agreed that for next year the level of exports should increase to 175,000 barrels per day," Salih said during a speech at an oil and gas conference in the Kurdish capital, Arbil. Baghdad and Arbil have longstanding disputes over oil and land. The Kurdistan Regional Government has signed a series of oilfield development deals with foreign companies that the central government considers illegal. The disputes halted Kurdish exports in late 2009. They resumed in February.

Helge Eide, the chief executive of Norwegian group DNO said he expects to increase crude output capacity at the Kurdish Tawke oilfield to 100,000 bpd in 2012 from about 70,000 bpd now. Actual production at the field is 50,000 bpd. Iraq exported a total of 2.088 million bpd in October, most of it from southern fields. Exports from the northern fields around Kirkuk were about 460,000 bpd. Iraqi Kurdistan has enjoyed more security compared with the rest of Iraq, which is still struggling with stubborn violence from insurgents and militias more than eight years after the U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.


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