ISTANBUL, Turkey, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The Kurdish north of Iraq is secured and positioned to become a global leader in the energy sector, the top executive at Genel Energy said from Istanbul.
Genel in August said net working production for the second half of the year averaged 63,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, an increase of around 50 percent from the second half of 2013. The majority of that comes from the Kurdish north of Iraq.
"Without the oil industry, Kurdistan doesn't exist," he said in his Tuesday remarks. "I am very confident in the capability of Kurdish security forces to insure that there is no sort of infiltration to the region."
Iraqi and Kurdish forces are working to contain the Islamic State, a Sunni-led terrorist group in charge of parts of northern Iraq and Syria. Some energy companies pulled non-essential staff from the region as a security precaution, though Hayward said operations were relatively normal.
Hayward's company has shipped oil from the Kurdish north to an export terminal in Turkey. The Iraqi and semiautonomous Kurdish governments are fighting in U.S. courts over a shipment of Kurdish oil parked off the coast of Texas.
Baghdad said unilateral Kurdish exports are illegal.
"The Kurds seem to be having a lot of success in placing their oil into the global market," Hayward said. "The U.S. is just one market and there are lots of other markets."