By Hiwa Barznjy.
Iraqi Kurdistan has a sea of oil and politicians are eager to exploit the resource. But one expert says oil extraction must be more carefully managed. There may be more earthquakes in the region if it’s not.
Most experts believe that there is literally a sea of oil under the ground in Iraqi Kurdistan. Which is obviously a large part of the reason international oil companies are lining up to work here. And this week the Iraqi government announced ambitious new plans to increase oil production even further – if the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan can ever agree with the Iraqi government in Baghdad over oil rights, then the Kurdish would doubtless be supplying part of that desired oil.
However, as one expert in Iraqi Kurdistan warns, increasing oil cannot come without risks. And he doesn’t mean the security risks and political infighting that already mar oil production in Iraq and in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“Iraqi Kurdistan’s Ministry of Natural Resources has announced that the region’s oil reserves probably stand at about 45 billion barrels,” Baywar Khansi, an oils and metals expert who advises the Iraqi Kurdish government on economic security. “I actually think the estimates should be revised upwards, closer to 60 billion barrels.”
Many in Iraqi Kurdistan believe that the semi-autonomous region will benefit from oil companies working there in the short run. However in the long run, there are fears that the damage this kind of work will do to the environment will outweigh the benefits.