The Minister for Natural Resources in the Kurdistan Regional Government, Ashti Hawrami, told Reuters that he expected talks in Baghdad on the formation of a new government to lead to an imminent breakthrough on the issue of oil exports from Kurdistan.
“I am confident that the leadership between Kurdistan and Baghdad will address these issues in the coming few days and weeks, before the formation of the government,” he said in an interview with the agency.
Iraq’s president formally asked Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki last week to form a new government, giving him 30 days to choose a cabinet.
Hawrami said a deal on the oil issue was one of the Kurdish bloc’s key demands and that exports should follow soon after a deal on the government.
“I am confident that, by early next year, the oil will be flowing,” he said.
Around 40 companies have invested in Kurdistan but their revenues have been curtailed by their inability to sell their oil for export because Baghdad has deemed the contracts to be illegal.
Norway’s DNO, for example, is ready to export around 50,000 barrels per day if a deal is concluded. Currently, it is confined to selling around 17,000 barrels per day to the local Kurdish market, where it receives less than half international prices for its oil.