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Iraq asks Turkey to resume oil exports as firms in Kurdistan region scale back

Turkey has still yet to restart oil flows from northern Iraq following a controversial court ruling despite efforts by Iraqi and Kurdish authorities. The stoppage is threatening the Kurdistan Region’s oil sector.
Workers at the Northern Oil Company carry out maintenance work at the pumping station in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

Iraq’s state oil company has officially asked Turkey to restart its oil pipeline with the Kurdistan Region, Kurdish authorities said on Thursday. The move comes as international oil companies are again scaling back operations in the autonomous region in northern Iraq due to the dispute.

Background: Turkey stopped receiving oil exports from the Kurdistan Region in March. This followed a Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce ruling that Turkey owed Iraq $1.5 billion for receiving unauthorized exports between 2014 and 2018.

This dispute relates to the Kurdistan Region’s independent oil exports. Baghdad has long opposed the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) exporting oil to Turkey. In April, the KRG and Baghdad reached an agreement whereby Iraq’s state oil company, SOMO, will market the region’s oil in conjunction with the KRG.

The oil exports from the Kurdistan Region to Turkey were expected to begin following the April deal, but Turkey has yet to give the green light. The reasons why are unclear. Iraq expert Bilal Wahab told Al-Monitor’s On the Middle East podcast that Turkey may be seeking pledges that Iraq will not seek further compensation for accepting the Kurdistan Region’s oil during periods not covered by the International Chamber of Commerce ruling.

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