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Kurdish government short on oil export payments

Semi-autonomous government holding a London energy conference to tout opportunities.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Kurdish government short on oil export payments
Companies working in the Kurdish north of Iraq say export payments are coming in, but some debt is still unresolved. Pictured, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters watching smoke billowing as they deploy in the area in Dohuk, north of Mosul, during an operation to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, October 20, 2016. Photo by Shvan Harkl/UPI | License Photo

OSLO, Norway, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Companies working in the Kurdish north of Iraq said they were paid collectively more than $50 million for oil exports through Turkey, but still owed more.

Norwegian energy company DNO said it was paid $36.2 million toward September exports of crude oil from the Kurdish north through Turkish ports. About $6 million of that payment goes toward outstanding debt.

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The company is sharing the funds with its partner, Genel Energy. DNO said it produced an average of 112,897 barrels of oil per day from its Tawke field in the Kurdish north and all almost all of that was exported through Turkey.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum, which operates the Shaikan oil field in the Kurdish north, said it received $15 million for crude oil exports through Turkey. The company, which did not provide export volumes, said it was still working on resolving debts outstanding since May.

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The reporting comes as delegates gather in London for a Kurdish oil and gas conference. The event is billed as "the gateway" to the Kurdish oil and gas industry, which has been shielded in large part from the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group. Regional and allied forces are working to retake the nearby city of Mosul from the Islamic State.

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Before the conference, the Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources said its oil- and gas-dependent economy was a vital contributor to the funds necessary to support the fight against the Islamic State.

"After two very challenging years, the Kurdistan Region's oil and gas sector has a more positive outlook, with investment starting to pick up and prepayments for oil exports continuing," the ministry said. "The Kurdistan Region continues to export around 580,000 bpd of crude oil."

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In late July, DNO made an unsolicited offer to take over Gulf Keystone Petroleum, which is focused on a restructuring effort it said could support a near-term goal of raising production from 40,000 bbpd to 55,000 bpd.

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