" The Dinar Daily " ......... Saturday, 15 December 2012.
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  1. #1

    " The Dinar Daily " ......... Saturday, 15 December 2012.

    Kurdistan Region’s Energy Exports: Promising and Fraught with Risks

    15/12/2012 05:17:00By WLADIMIR van VILGENBURG

    “The KRG reaching out to supply the world will be a breath of fresh air for world markets,”

    ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – As Iraq’s Kurdistan Region looks to shift from exploration to exporting its huge reserves of oil and gas, the world’s energy-hungry markets sense both excitement and apprehension over the prospect.

    The region, which gained autonomy after the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein following the 2003 US-led invasion, sits on an estimated 45 billion barrels of oil, and proven gas reserves of 110 trillion cubic feet.

    With energy-poor Turkey next door – and markets beyond – greedily eyeing the vast untapped riches of the landlocked enclave, the economic future of Iraqi Kurdistan should glitter with black gold.

    “Collaboration between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Turkey to transfer oil and gas to world markets will strengthen our ties. What energy markets need most is a free market, transparency and secure supply,” Turkey’s Deputy Energy Minister Selahattin Cimen said at a major energy conference in Erbil this month.

    “The KRG reaching out to supply the world will be a breath of fresh air for world markets,” he enthused.

    But instead of fresh air, war clouds loom over one of the world’s most volatile regions, which borders Turkey, Iran and Syria.

    For years, KRG leaders have been locked in a conflict with the central government in Baghdad, which opposes any independent effort by the Kurds to export their underground riches themselves.

    Foreign companies have been involved in exploration in Kurdistan despite warnings by Baghdad to blacklist firms operating in the enclave. Turkey, the main prospective buyer of Kurdish oil and gas, has watched excitedly as the Kurds have developed their energy fields, with help from the likes of US multinationals like Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

    But now, as the KRG shifts from exploration to finding buyers and routes for oil and gas found in Kurdish territories, Baghdad has seriously intensified efforts to undermine those prospects, igniting weeks-old tensions that have leaders on both sides warning of a possible Arab-Kurdish war.

    A stand-off between Erbil and Baghdad erupted in November, after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sent in his newly-formed Dijla forces to take over security in disputed northern territories. The Kurds, who also claim the energy-rich lands, deployed thousands of their own Peshmarga forces, and last Monday KRG President Massoud Barzani told the troops to hope for peace but be ready for war.

    Earlier this month Maliki, who has been bitterly opposed to the KRG’s growing economic independence, flexed his muscles when air traffic control in Baghdad refused landing rights in Erbil to a plane carrying Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, who was en route to attend the Kurdistan-Iraq Oil and Gas Conference.

    Quietly, Maliki has been making overtures to Ankara to revive strained ties with Baghdad, trying to proffer Iraq’s own oil and gas, and hinting that if Turkey wants to get its hands on Kurdistan’s energy riches it must go through him.

    “The oil and gas in the Kurdistan Region will find its way to international markets,” KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani defiantly told the Erbil conference. “Our pipeline plans are moving ahead,” he added.

    So far, prospects of major oil and gas pipelines from Kurdistan to Turkey remain pipedreams.

    “I don’t think there has ever been a situation in history where we had gas reservoirs and a hungry country close by. That country is Turkey,” said consultant Friedbert Pfluger.

    “No matter what others think, it is a great chance (for Kurdistan),” he said, adding that one of the topics discussed at the conference was a gas pipeline out of Kurdistan, expected in 2015.

    Analysts confirm that Turkey is the only viable possibility for both the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to reach international markets. Moreover, Turkey is a huge potential market itself, by some estimates importing nearly all of its oil and gas needs.

    “We (Turkey) have Kurdistan as our neighbor, here on our border,” said Mehmet Sepil, head of Turkish firm Genel Energy. “It makes a lot of sense that we bring in all this energy -- especially gas. My country needs it desperately.”

    According to international media reports Genel Energy is planning to finance an oil pipeline from Kurdistan to Turkey. Experts expected Yildiz -- whose plane was prevented from landing in Erbil -- to declare a rumored deal during the conference.

    But John Roberts, an energy security specialist with energy news provider Platts, told Rudaw that building a pipeline without agreement with the federal government in Baghdad would unleash a host of complications.

    “Is this is an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad – in which case there is no problem. Or are you simply relying on an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad?” he said.

    “Yes, you can build an oil pipeline, it is not particularly difficult. But it is the political baggage that comes with it,” Roberts said.

    He added that the KRG could use existing infrastructure and small pipelines from Duhok to Turkey to export small volumes of gas, but that large-scale investments were needed for larger exports.

    Jennifer Coolidge, executive director of CMX Caspian & Gulf Consultants Ltd., said that the KRG currently focuses on gas provision for power generations, but once surplus gas comes available, “Future opportunities exist (for the KRG) to undercut Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran in the Turkish market.”

    According to Donald MacDonald, Chevron’s Iraq country manager, it is obvious that the infrastructure is not there yet. “It is dependent on gas that’s found in the future,” he said, noting statements by KRG officials that their primary focus for gas is domestic utilization, and that only excess production would be considered for export.

    Adding weight to Baghdad’s opposition to separate energy deals with Kurdistan, the United States also has indicated it would not back such agreements.

    “There is a great reluctance to entertain or to go supporting separate energy strategies. My sense is that this is starting to change, but it has not entirely changed Washington’s calculations,” said Ross L. Wilson, the former US ambassador to Turkey.

    Earlier this month, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland indicated that the United States does not support direct energy deals with the KRG.

    "We don't support oil exports from any part of Iraq without the appropriate approval of the Iraqi government. We're calling on the government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to continue to try to work through their differences," Nuland said.

    Simon Henderson, energy expert at US think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, indicated in an article that the United States might fear that an Erbil-Baghdad deal would threaten the unity of Iraq. “Iraq's very unity -- as well as the independence of its Shiite majority from Iranian control -- could be called into doubt,” he wrote.

    “To avoid this, Washington should keep repeating to Erbil and Ankara that it will not countenance a separate export regime with pipelines between the KRG and Turkey. But it should make equally clear to Baghdad that only American pressure will keep hydrocarbon exports -- and, ultimately, Kurdistan as a whole -- under the central government's aegis,” he argued.

    But Henderson also cautioned against a heavy-handed attitude by Baghdad.

    “Baghdad must compromise with the Kurds to keep their oil flowing and their region inside Iraq. Any effort to exercise complete, intrusive federal control over all aspects of the country's hydrocarbon development is doomed to fail.

    “If Baghdad is flexible, all will profit, and Iraq will remain united,” he concluded.


  2. #2

    Breaking News--- The parliament votes in favor, the law of the Supreme Judicial Counc

    BAGHDAD / NINA / The House of Representatives has voted today 15, Dec to approve the Law of the Supreme Judicial Council.

    MP, Khalid al-Alwani told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that: "The House of Representatives voted, in its session today, on the law of the Supreme Judicial Council, noting that the vote on the law is an important achievement for the people.

    The House of Representatives has postponed more than once the vote on the draft law of the Supreme Judicial Council. / End

  3. #3

    Member of the Commission on oil and energy

    oil and gas law will be approved in the next legislative term

    Khandan - announced a member of the Oil and Energy Committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives, the coming days will witness the movements of the committee to reach a draft oil and gas law and approved in the next legislative term, because the end of the current chapter will see preoccupation budget for fiscal "2013."

    A member of the Committee MP for the Supreme Council Furat al-Shara told the "Khandan": that reached choose the draft law of
    oil and gas needed to hold a session dedicated to the oil and gas committee to agree on the points of contention, explaining: that after concerns many budget federal witness coming days mobility within the Commission to reach an agreement on the wording of the law, and approval in the next legislative term of the House of Representatives.

    And Shara said that the Committee of Five, which was formed from the legislative and executive branches, to reach a selection of one of the drafts of the law, held two meetings, did not announce the end of its work or its mandated.

  4. #4
    The parliament is due to votes on the Federal Court today.
    15/12/2012 10:45:00

    BAGHDAD / NINA / Iraqi House of Representatives is due to vote, at its session today 15, Dec on the draft law of the Federal Court.

    A source in the council said that the agenda also includes vote on the law of the Supreme Judicial Council and questioning the Minister of Youth and Sports and as well as to discuss the subject of a law of prohibiting infighting and prevent restoring to the armed force.


  5. #5
    Breaking News--- The parliament votes in favor, the law of the Supreme Judicial Council.
    15/12/2012 12:07:00

    BAGHDAD / NINA / The House of Representatives has voted today 15, Dec to approve the Law of the Supreme Judicial Council.

    MP, Khalid al-Alwani told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that: "The House of Representatives voted, in its session today, on the law of the Supreme Judicial Council, noting that the vote on the law is an important achievement for the people.

    The House of Representatives has postponed more than once the vote on the draft law of the Supreme Judicial Council.


  6. #6
    Iraqiya MP: Replacing (disputed areas) to (Kurdish areas outside the region) is a serious escalation.
    15/12/2012 09:19:00

    BAGHDAD / NINA / MP, of Kirkuk province, Yassin al-Obeidi considered replacing the (disputed areas) to (Kurdish areas outside the region) by the head of the Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, a serious escalation and violation of the Constitution.

    He said in a statement to the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / today 15, Dec: "We are going to adopt naming northern Iraq instead of the provinces of the region."

    He added: "Naming provinces of northern Iraq is the form that agreed upon by all Iraqis in terms of history, Geographic, law and the Constitution."

    Al-Obeidi, an MP, of the Iraqiya coalition continued that "Whatever Barzani manipulated the words, the identity of these areas will remain Iraqi."

    He pointed out that "The appropriate term of the so-called disputed areas is the mixed areas because the first one is used between countries and not in the same country."

    The head of the Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani announced yesterday that they would name Kurdish areas outside the region instead of the disputed areas.

    The disputed areas are a term came in accordance with the constitutional Article 140 on Kirkuk province. These areas are inhabited by a mixture of Arabs, Turkmen, Kurds and Christians.

    Recently, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called these areas the / mixed areas / when you talking about them, which was rejected by the Kurds, considering a violation to the Constitution, and Article 140. /


  7. #7
    MP: Disagreement between the Sadrists and al-Maliki is not crisis.
    15/12/2012 08:55:00

    BAGHDAD / NINA / MP, of the state of law coalition, Faleh al-Ziadi said that the current dispute between Sadirists and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is not / crisis / and it is easy to encircled through positive communication between the parties.

    He explained in a statement to the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA /: "We always emphasize the cohesion of the National Alliance, and there is a consensus on the need to preserve its unity because it is the biggest bloc in the House of Representatives that runs the compass of the political process in Iraq."

    Al-Ziadi added: "The differences between al-Maliki and the Sadrists are normal and they are differences in views, which can be resolved through positive communication between the two parties, because the right of expression is guaranteed for all."

    He noted, "The Sadirist movement is an important part of the government, and there are several important ministries run by them, and Sadrists cannot participate in any actions against the government and will not agree to withdraw confidence."

    It is mentioned that hundreds of supporters of the Sader movement demonstrated during the past week in a number of provinces to protest the remarks of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who criticized Muqtada's statements.


  8. #8
    IS demands presenting the report on MP, Daini's issue on the Parliament.
    15/12/2012 14:48:00

    Baghdad/ NINA /--Iraqiya Slate demanded presenting the report on the issue of former MP Mohammed al-Daini to the House of Representatives.

    The Slate confirmed in a statement by MP, Liqaa Mahdi the collection of 101 deputies signatures from different political blocs demanding presented the report of the investigative committee on the issue of Daini to the Parliament.

    Mahdi added , "that the special investigative committee concluded that the accusations against Daini was malicious and false./


  9. #9
    Iraqiya MP calls the Parliament to question the Minister of Justice due to prisons' violations.
    15/12/2012 11:32:00

    BAGHDAD / NINA / MP, of the Iraqiya coalition, Faiza al-Obeidi demanded the House of Representatives questioning the Minister of Justice, Hassan al-Shimmari because of considerable violations in Iraqi prisons, as she described.

    She told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / on Saturday 15, Dec that "The repetition of abuse cases against detainees without taking a position by the Minister of Justice, calls the parliament to question the minister to stop these violations ."

    She added: " a number of decisions taken by the Minister of Justice, which prevent visits only if reporting, is an interference in the supervisory role of the House of Representatives, although the responsibility of representatives is to follow what the Iraqi citizen is suffering from violations, therefore preventing them is a humanitarian catastrophe must be faced."

    The Minister of Justice, Hassan al-Shimmari had issued a decision to prevent MPs of the Ahrar bloc Maha al-Duri and Jaafar al-Moussawi to visit a prison in Baghdad.


  10. #10
    Muhsin al-Sadoun accused the government of not serious in implementing the constitutional article 140.
    15/12/2012 08:55:00

    BAGHDAD / NINA / The Chairman of the parliamentary Committee on the implementation of Article 140, MP, of the Kurdistan Alliance bloc, Muhsin al-Sadoun accused the government saying that it is not serious to implement the constitutional article 140," noting that "the implementation of this article would solve the problems in the disputed areas."

    He said in a statement to the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / "The country is in the midst of a battle of the constitutional article 140," noting that" the delay in application this article, led to what is happening today of military build-up and differences and very dangerous stage to the entire political process. "

    He added, "The recent events in the disputed areas require starting to apply the Article 140 urgently, because it solves problems in a constitutional manner.'


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