"Foreign investment has been actively encouraged, with Turkey as the main trade partner. Turkish investment into Iraq in 2010 was some $10 billion, with $8 billion going to the Kurdistan region. In short, Kurdistan today enjoys a vibrant, dynamic and rapidly growing economy and is becoming closely integrated with Turkey both commercially and culturally."
The oil industry was at the heart of this economic progress, Hayward said. "Since Genel Energy was awarded the first exploration acreage in 2002, some 40 licences have been awarded, initially to smaller, privately financed firms and then to mid-cap international companies. More recently, the first of the super-majors has arrived in the form of Exxon - with rumours of more to follow.
"The industry has enjoyed significant success, with cumulative gross discoveries of more than five billion barrels, and production has grown from 2,000 barrels a day in 2006 to 250,000 barrels a day today."
Hayward concluded: "As the region's biggest existing oil producer with a world-class exploration portfolio and the cash flow to fund our rapidly growing existing operations, I believe Genel Energy is in an enviable position. As an Anglo-Turkish champion we are well placed to benefit from Turkey's growing influence in the region and further afield, and with $1.9 billion of free cash available to invest in profitable opportunities, we look forward to an exciting future."