Pipe Dreams or Reality? The Real Deal Behind Turkish-Kurdish Oil Plans

In May, Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan announced they would build pipelines taking oil and gas from Iraq into Turkey, then possibly Europe. But according to this article from NIQASH behind the energy dream, lurks a nightmare of militant Kurdish independence fighters and the spectres of energy giants, Iran and Russia.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

To some it is a dream come true, others think it’s a nightmare that will never see the light of day. The May 2012 announcement by Ashti Hawrami, the Minister of Natural Resources in the semi-autonomous state of Iraqi Kurdistan that they would build new oil and gas pipelines to Turkey shook the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

The first phase of pipeline construction is supposed to be completed by October this year and the second phase is due to be finished by August 2013. Another pipeline is to be built by 2014.

Baghdad reacted unhappily to this announcement, saying – as they had done with other oil deals – that the Kurds were working outside of the national remit. National Deputy Prime Minister for Energy, Hussein al-Shahristani, was dismissive of the pipelines and local media were also rather negative about it.

Yet it appears that Baghdad feels that that the northern state of Iraqi Kurdistan is slipping out of its control. For the last five years Baghdad has been trying to reign in the Kurdish government, especially when it comes to oil and gas.

Shahristani has blacklisted oil companies operating in Iraqi Kurdistan and even ensured that, during the recent lacklustre fourth round of bidding to do oil work in Iraq, there was a new clause preventing any oil companies from going into Iraqi Kurdistan without Baghdad’s permission, as oil major Exxon Mobil did in November 2011.

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