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Kurds pay out for crude oil exports

Payment to Genel Energy comes as region considers statehood referendum.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Feb. 5, 2016 at 5:41 AM
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LONDON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- With formal statehood under consideration, the Kurdish government continues to make its regular payments for crude oil exports, Genel Energy said.

Genel, which has headquarters in London, said it and its partners at the Taq Taq field in the Kurdish north of Iraq received a gross payment of $16.3 million from the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government for oil exported through a pipeline through Turkey.

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The KRG started independent oil sales in June, averaging earnings of around $682 million per month. Total preliminary crude oil production from the Kurdish north for November, the last full month for which data are available, was estimated at 19 million barrels.

Payments have totaled nearly $100 million for Genel. For the year, the company expects revenue in the range of $200 million to $275 million, against $342 million from last year. Lower crude oil prices are cutting into revenues for oil companies.

"The KRG has stated that payments will be increased as oil prices rebound," the company said in a statement.

Companies operating in the Kurdish north had balked over payments in the past. Security issues associated with the fight against the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State pose another risk factor for the region. The State Department issued a travel alert for southern Turkey this week because of violence in the region.

Earlier this week, Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani said the "time has come" to hold a referendum to move further away from the central Iraqi government in Baghdad.

"This referendum would not necessarily lead to immediate declaration of statehood, but rather to know the will and opinion of the people of Kurdistan about their future and for Kurdistan's political leadership to implement this will at the appropriate time and circumstances," he said in a statement.

Iraq has been loosely divided, with Shiites predominating in the south and east, Sunnis holding sway in the west and Kurds dominating the northern third of the country.

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