The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Minister for Natural Resources last week at the Baker Institute in Houston said that the US administration can help Baghdad and the Kurds to resolve their disagreements on oil and gas.
Dr Ashti Hawrami (pictured) said:
“We believe that Washington can help Iraq shepherd through a deal on energy in accordance with the Constitution to advance stability and economic wellbeing in the wider region.”
Minister Hawrami went to Houston shortly after visiting Washington DC as part of a KRG ministerial delegation that met US government officials, business leaders and think tanks.
In an address to the prominent think-tank at Rice University, Dr Hawrami said he had spent a fruitful week in Washington DC as part of a delegation from the KRG, identifying “many areas of common interest and ways in which the KRG can play a moderating role to shape the future of my country, Iraq, and positively influence the delicate geopolitical developments around us.”
Dr Hawrami emphasised the positive effects of the KRG’s growing energy relationship with Turkey. “Iraq’s unity and upholding the federal Constitution are central to all discussions with Turkey, which will be a win-win for all concerned. Economic growth undermines geopolitical extremism and conflicts.”
The key to lasting stability and unity in Iraq is to implement the power and wealth sharing provisions in Iraq’s Constitution, he said.
In stark contrast to Iraq’s long history of neglecting resources in the Kurdistan Region and using oil wealth to fund regional wars, since 2005 the KRG has attracted some 50 international oil exploration and production companies from 23 countries. Collectively they have invested close to $20 billion US dollars searching for oil and gas in Kurdistan.
He said the benefits of the KRG’s success in fostering a modern, progressive oil and gas industry would be shared by all Iraqis.
“The KRG seeks constructive dialogue with Baghdad to resolve all outstanding oil and gas issues based on the federal Constitution as the only viable foundation for the unity of Iraq,” said Dr Hawrami.
The talk at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University was organized by the Center for Energy studies. In Houston, Minister Hawrami was also invited to address the biannual Chevron Reservoir Management Forum and visited Chevron’s technology centre, where he was briefed on the latest technological advances in the oil and gas industry.