A pipeline to export oil from the Kurdistan Region will be operational within a few months, Ashti Hawrami (pictured), the Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Natural Resources, told a meeting at the UK's Conservative Party conference yesterday.
'The new oil export pipeline from the Kurdistan Region is almost complete and is expected to be operational by the end of the year,' Dr Hawrami said. He added that he expects exports to reach 1m barrels per day by 2015 and 2m by 2019. ' We are helping the security and continuity of energy supply to the world,' he said.
He added, 'Sharing all oil revenues according to the federal constitution, and the economic independence of Kurdistan are the recipe for the unity of Iraq.'
The minister was speaking at a meeting addressing energy security, hosted by the KRG UK Representation. Other speakers were Nadhim Zahawi MP, Jane Kinninmont of the think tank Chatham House, analyst and consultant Shwan Zulal, and Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the KRG's High Representative to the UK. The meeting was chaired by Robert Halfon MP, vice-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Kurdistan Region.
Dr Hawrami told an audience of Conservative Party members, diplomats, journalists, business representatives and analysts that Kurdistan Region's energy riches had been ignored or used against the Kurdish people under previous Iraqi governments. 'With the liberation of Iraq, a new era, an opportunity for sharing power and wealth, opened up in Iraq. The Iraqi constitution facilitates that but so far it hasn't been implemented,' he said.
The minister also noted that the KRG sees Turkey not just as a conduit for Kurdistan's oil and gas to Western markets, but also as a consumer and partner. Dr Hawrami highlighted the role of British companies in the energy sector as well as in Kurdistan's growing economy generally. He encouraged British companies to continue to look at Kurdistan as a destination for their investment. 'We have a good relationship with Britain and there are lots of opportunities for British companies. It's a win-win situation.'