By Padraig O'Hannelly.
Dr Ashti Hawrami (pictured), the KRG's Minister for Natural Resources, has clarified the two stage process involved in the recent agreement between Erbil and Baghdad regarding oil exports.
Speaking at CWC's Kurdistan-Iraq Oil & Gas Conference recently in London, Dr Hawrami said that the first stage of the resolution covers the issues recently agreed, including the 2015 budget, the export of 250,000 bpd from KRG-controlled oilfields, and the facilitation of 300,000 bpd exports from the Kirkuk fields.
Still to be agreed as part of a second stage of negotiations over the next six months are issues including the KRG's right to export oil independently, and to receive payments directly.
But he added that following the KRG's recent experience with regard to the receipt of payments from Baghdad, which he described as "a wake-up call", there will be no flexibility in the KRG's position on these two points.
Dr Hawrami went on to express his confidence that a resolution will be found, and said that his preferred option would be for the oil companies to market their own oil, north and south, independently of either the KRG or the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO):
"The oil companies can do a better job in exploration, in production, and in marketing, and in everything else, so it is not our policy to [replicate the work of] SOMO."