ExxonMobil pulled out of Kurdistan "Because of Iranian Influence"

Since Oct. 10, 2015, the city of Sulaimaniyah has been witnessing intermittent demonstrations against the difficult economic conditions for civil servants and educational workers in the region due to the KRG’s delay in disbursing their salaries and the salary cuts as part of the austerity measures implemented by the KRG, in addition to the war against IS and the plunge in oil prices.

According to the latest report of the Ministry of Natural Resources issued in November, the total exported and consumed oil during that month from the KRG fields stood at 19,552,432 barrels at an average of 651,748 per day. The report also showed that a total of 17,629,368 barrels were exported to the Turkish port of Ceyhan at a daily average of 587,646 barrels, while the quantity of oil refined locally reached 1,923,065 barrels.

Riwaz Faeq, a member of the KRG's parliamentary committee for energy and natural resources, told Al-Monitor that three factors led to the withdrawal of oil companies from the Kurdistan Region, most notably the failure by the KRG to meet its obligation to pay the companies on time.

She added, “This is in addition to the general situation witnessed in the Kurdistan Region and the dissatisfaction of the political parties and the citizens with the political process, which stirred up concerns and fear among oil companies who lost a sense of security and safety. This is not to mention the fight against IS.”

Faeq noted that the solution is to regain the trust of these companies and make them feel safe in the region again. “The KRG should seek to build trust between citizens and oil companies, which would prevent the withdrawal of other companies,” she said.

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