Ninawa’s Planned Oil Refinery Moves Sunni-Led Region even Further from Baghdad
The northern Sunni-led region of Ninawa has been planning its own oil refinery for some time now. And last month the foundations were laid. Some say the refinery means that Ninawa is flouting the wishes of the government in Baghdad, planning independence and most controversially, joining forces with Iraqi Kurdistan.
On April 16, 2014, authorities in the northern Iraqi province of Ninawa laid the foundation stones for the first oil refinery in the area. The move comes after a succession of crises between the Shiite Muslim-led federal government in Baghdad and Sunni Muslim-led provincial authorities in Ninawa.
Of course, as conflicts between Ninawa's neighbouring region of Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad have proven, undertaking big oil projects without Baghdad's express permission can be risky. The Iraqi Kurdish have been moving toward oil production independence for some time now and the most recent projects have seen what some have described as a damaging ”financial blockade” of the semi-autonomous region by Baghdad.
“It is not true that the contract Ninawa has signed with the KAR Group to build a refinery in the Hamadaniyah area, in the east of Mosul, is illegal,” Ninawa's governor, Atheel al-Nujaifi (pictured), told NIQASH. “The council was included at every step. The company, KAR, won the contract after it was put out to tender – the company beat out some other companies, including a Turkish one,” he noted.
Additionally Ninawa would be cooperating with Iraqi Kurdistan to get the oil refined. “This cooperation reflects the hope for a common future based on Arab-Kurdish cooperation,” al-Nujaifi continued. “We aim to build a stable region, where resources are developed, rather than used to kill our sons.”