CWC’s 4th Kurdistan-Iraq Oil and Gas Conference


Some might compare this long term view with the long game BP are playing in the south. In an uncertain market, Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdish region remain attractive when we consider that shale is up to twenty times more expensive to produce than oil from some Iraqi fields, a point made by Dr. Parra.


UK Energy Minister Matthew Hancock gave another view on this, noting that as Iraq’s exports were forecast to soar from the Kurdish and southern region, US production was forecast to peak in 2020. Mehmet Sepil echoed this point, noting that MENA region oil would remain an attractive prospect.


Of course, expanding opportunity and reduced political risk is vital, but 2014 was the year that we saw the ISIL/ Daesh terror campaign turn into a fully fledged military offensive, and this of course interrupted IOC operations across Iraq--but certainly did not doom them, as some sensationalist reports initially claimed. Taqa Iraq chairman Leo Koot noted how the June ISIL offensive was only a temporary interruption and that the KRG had been hugely supportive in helping them build a security framework for their “exciting” Atrush development. Interestingly, Koot noted how the workforce of his company was now almost entirely Kurdish, adding to a strong conference theme of local engagement and a desire to build human capital and create jobs in Iraq.


Former Iraq Business News contributor Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy gave a characteristically detailed presentation on the evolving but increasingly positive security situation in the region. Essentially, the ISIL blitzkrieg has been halted in most areas except Anbar and notably there have been several reports of falling ISIL morale in Mosul. The group is taking huge casualties on all fronts, which will further limit its ability to launch anything like what we saw in June.


What underpins the stabilizing situation in the Kurdish region? All of the keynote speakers agreed Iraqis and Kurds were fighting on the frontline to guarantee a shared future.PM Nechirvan Barzani paid tribute to the sacrifice of the Peshmerga who had enabled the status quo and given their lives so that the region would benefit, and there were a number of sobering reminders of this throughout the conference.


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