Will oil companies provide Kurdistan its de facto statehood?
February 2, 2013 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Iraq, Kurds, Turks and oil - A tortuous triangle The governments of Turkey, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan play a dangerous game

Kurdistan's Vast Reservess Draw Oil Majors
“Kurdistan is the oil exploration capital of the world,” says Tony Hayward, the former chief executive of BP, now chief executive of Genel Energy, the largest independent oil producer in the region.
Exxon’s decision to enter the region in 2011 was a turning point, with Chevron, Total and Gazprom following in its wake.
The KRG says their arrival should silence critics who question the legality of the production-sharing contracts it has signed with international energy groups. “[Exxon’s arrival] is an endorsement of our policy,” says Ashti Hawrami, the KRG’s minister of natural resources.
Baghdad says the Exxon contract and the roughly 50 other deals the KRG has signed are unconstitutional and has barred oil companies that enter the north from participating in Iraqi oil licensing rounds. It has also made life hard for oil companies operating in KRG-controlled areas who often have to wait months for Baghdad to pay them for the oil they produce.
With Or Without Exxon, Iraq Kurds Strive For Energy Autonomy
Behind the closed doors of their offices in the United States, top executives and lawyers for Exxon Mobil are poring over two sets of contracts, weighing a decision that could shift the balance of power in Iraq.
Exxon, Kurdistan Visit Disputed Iraqi Oil Block leading to Exxon's Deal With The Kurds Inflames Baghdad
The bombshell exploded last month when Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, defied the instructions of the Baghdad government and signed a deal with the Iraqi Kurds to search for oil in the northern area of Iraq they control. To make matters worse, three of the areas Exxon has signed up to explore are on territory the two authorities dispute. The government must now decide if it will retaliate by kicking Exxon out of a giant oilfield it is developing in the south of Iraq.
Chevron Acquires New Stake in Kurdish Oil License
The company and the Kurdish regional government have agreed on the terms of the deal but have yet to sign it, the official said.

The Iraqi central government has barred Chevron from having oil contracts in central and southern Iraq since the California-based company bought stakes in the two oil-exploration blocks.
Kurds Warn BP Not To Drill For Baghdad

BP and ExxonMobil take up opposite sides of the front lines in Iraq

Kurdistan To Resume Oil Exports Via Turkey and Iraqi Kurds Press Ahead With Pipeline Plans

Iraq And The Kurds: The High-Stakes Hydrocarbons Gambit
Will oil companies provide Kurdistan its de facto statehood?
"The terms in the north are much better. The government gets a stake, but the better you do, the more you get, and the terms are attractive," he said. Plus the overall conditions are "night and day better" in Kurdistan than in Baghdad, he said. "You fly into a very modern, efficient airport. There are good hotels, good infrastructure."

When combined with the Kurdish authorities’ already-existing plans to build independent oil and natural gas export pipelines out of Kurdistan that avoid the Arab regions of Iraq entirely, the oil deals look increasingly like a robust, commercial-led carving out of the region as a stand-alone entity. Some might call it another substantial piece of the puzzle toward the creation of the Kurds’ longstanding national dream — a state of their own.
posted by the man of twists and turns (9 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
In recent weeks Mr Maliki has mobilised Iraq’s army along the fault-line that divides the Kurdish region from the rest of Iraq. Bombs have killed at least ten people in the past fortnight in Kirkuk. Kurdish leaders say that they are ready to fight and have sent thousands of their fighters, known as peshmerga, to face down the Iraqi army. From a ridge north-west of Kirkuk, they peer through binoculars at Iraqi troops massing a few hundred yards below on the plain. “If one peshmerga is killed,” says a Kurdish officer, “it is war.”

Coming soon to a theatre near you.

These would-be oil sheiks need to look at a map - without a pipeline, they've got nothing - the Kurds are stuck being BFF with Iraq, Turkey, Iran, or Syria so I would chill the hell out with the tough talk towards what appears to be the weakest among them.
posted by three blind mice at 1:06 PM on February 2, 2013

Isn't the Iraqi army using American weapons? Not sure how well armed the Kurds are, but between Iraq and Turkey I don't see this ending well for them.
posted by rosswald at 3:05 PM on February 2, 2013

The pipeline is the key. If they can get the infrastructure built and bypass Iraq, then it's a done deal. Puts me in mind of the railroad barons.
posted by arcticseal at 3:24 PM on February 2, 2013

Baghdad sees Exxon shift in Kurdistan oil feud
Exxon Mobil may be moving closer to Baghdad's side in its bitter feud with autonomous Kurdistan, industry sources said, with a sweeter deal to keep it operating in southern Iraq on the table.

Iraqi president's absence leaves political hole
The 79-year-old Talabani, who suffered a stroke six weeks ago, had assumed the role of father figure, the only leader seemingly capable of transcending Iraq's sectarian politics, including his own as a Kurdish nationalist.
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:28 PM on February 2, 2013

The pipeline is the key. If they can get the infrastructure built and bypass Iraq, then it's a done deal.

Until loyalists from some fraction or other sneak in and blow it up.
Trans-national pipelines are very hard to protect effectively.
posted by Mezentian at 5:32 PM on February 2, 2013

The worst thing you could do to someone who wanted to run Iraq is to let them.
posted by Etrigan at 6:16 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've been waiting for so long for our illegally waged war to bear some fruit.
posted by Renoroc at 5:00 AM on February 3, 2013

The Little-Known Man Behind ExxonMobil in Baghdad
A bit of media attention has been drawn to ExxonMobil’s hiring of some of America’s most seasoned foreign policy hands as advisers abroad, including to help it through a fix in Iraq. As reported first by the Iraq Oil Report (paywall), most prominent on the list are former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and former Ambassador James Jeffrey.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:15 AM on February 15, 2013

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