WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Residents of Iraq's Kurdish region will have all the fuel and electricity they need within three years and may even export power, its oil minister says.
"We want to be self-sufficient at least within the region, maybe even some surplus power and products to go further south to our colleagues in Baghdad and elsewhere," Kurdistan Regional Government Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami told United Press International.
He said current and future projects for smaller refineries -- 20,000 to 50,000 barrels per day -- and power plants "to stabilize the situation" will come first, in conjunction with the KRG's Electricity Ministry, which needs the natural gas and other fuel.
"We believe that combination will bring us to just about what Kurdistan needs at the moment," he said.
Iraq suffers from an overall lack of fuel and electricity. The KRG has moved forward on its own in developing its energy sector. While refineries and electricity are less controversial, the KRG's oil field development hits a major nerve.
Baghdad says the KRG doesn't have the authority to sign oil deals, though it has inked 20 already. Hawrami said the KRG will produce 1 million barrels of oil per day within five years.
Ben Lando, UPI Energy Editor