Iraqi Kurds spell out oil ambitions

Dec. 4, 2012 at 7:28 AM

ERBIL, Iraq, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- More than 3 million barrels of oil per day could be flowing from the Kurdish region of Iraq given the proper export infrastructure, a regional leader said.

Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said at a regional oil and natural gas conference that production from the semiautonomous northern region should add at least $8 billion to the Iraqi treasury. In 2013, he said, the region should export, on average, 250,000 barrels of oil per day.

"We will continue on this path and are on track to export 1 million barrels per day by 2015 with existing discoveries and 2 million barrels per day by 2019 with expected discoveries," he stated.

Within seven years, as much as 3 million barrels of Kurdish oil could reach international markets every day with the right export infrastructure in place, he added.

His comments came as Paolo Scaroni, the chief executive officer at Italian energy company Eni, met in Baghdad with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to discuss developments at the Zubair oil field in southern Iraq. Eni said production at Zubair would reach 1.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day at full capacity.

Baghdad and the Kurdish government are at odds over oil laws in the country. The central government says unilateral deals with the Kurds are illegal.

"The days of dictatorship, unaccountable institutions and centralized economic mismanagement should be consigned to the dustbin of history," countered Barzani.

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