Turkey may sign a new energy contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) during the visit of KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani this week, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız announced yesterday. “New energy deals may be signed during Barzani’s visit this week. The main aim of these deals will be to meet the needs of both the Baghdad government and the regional government in northern Iraq,” Yıldız said, stressing that if oil and gas production in Iraq increased, the country’s overall revenues would also increase.
There are currently around 40 energy companies from 19 different countries with operations in the KRG, and Turkish companies are among the major players.
“Turkey is no exception. To be sure, it is not possible for Turkey to be indifferent to energy resources just next to its borders,” Yıldız said, while also adding that if northern Iraq’s oil and gas production rises, new deals will be signed to redistribute these sources.
Safe haven in region
“The entire world knows that Turkey is a very secure door in the region opening to global markets,” he said.
Upon his talks in Ankara, Nechirvan Barzani is expected to visit Baghdad in order to discuss the details of the deal with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
“All three parties of the deal may meet in Baghdad or Basra in the coming weeks. We all need to be careful in making this a three-party mechanism,” Yıldız said, emphasizing that the sensitivities of the Baghdad government would “definitely” be considered.
“Turkey will also take part in the planning and construction of a new direct pipeline from Basra, the most important export port of Baghdad, to Ceyhan in Turkey,” he said.
The KRG has recently finalized a comprehensive package of deals with Turkey to build multi-billion dollar oil and gas pipelines to ship the autonomous region’s rich hydrocarbon reserves to world markets, sources involved in the talks revealed on Nov. 6.
The deals, which could have massive geo-political consequences for the Middle East, could see Kurdistan export some 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil to world markets and at least 10 billion cubic meters per year of gas to Turkey.
Under the framework of Iraq’s constitution, all oil export revenue goes through Baghdad. The KRG is entitled to 17 percent of the total. With the planned new deals, the exports will be metered independently, said the KRG’s natural resources minister, Ashti Hawrami, in Istanbul last month, inviting all parties including Baghdad to send auditors to observe the process.