The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has been accused by the Iraqi Prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, of exporting $1.6 billion worth of oil over the last three months without authorization from Iraq. Tensions are running high and neither government can seem to find a solution other than shifting blame. No one seems to believe they are at fault.

Safeen Dizayee, the KRG spokesperson, responded by saying, “The average of oil exports since after October 16 in the Kurdistan Region was 265,970 barrels of oil which was not sold in Brent price and its revenue did not reach two trillion [Iraqi Dinar] as Abadi claims otherwise,” and followed with, “Abadi says that the Kurdistan Region exported 450,000 barrels per day on a daily basis in October. It is clear to all sides that after the October 16 events, the Havana and Bai Hassan oilfields, which had a produce of 250,000 BPD daily, fell to the Iraqi government and North Oil Company, hence halting exports since.”

Rejecting the claim that the KRG’s monthly income was 544 billion dinars, Dizayee stated that neither the KRG or Iraq sold oil at full crude prices and that, “We do not know the source of this incorrect information with Abadi and how could he confirm them?” The KRG claims that their revenues have been cut in half after the loss of the oil fields in Kirkuk and that this has left them with approximately $337.4 million, after essential expenses and payments to international energy companies, for government salaries. KRG monthly salaries climb to around 850 billion dinars monthly and due to the current economic crises have now been reduced to a mere 600 billion.

In Dizayee’s mind, Abadi’s press conference did not serve to bolster ties between the KRG and Iraqi government. To this disclosure he added, “While there is a lot of internal and international efforts for the start of dialogue and the resolution of the Kurdistan Region and Iraqi federal government, and while we saw positive signs from Baghdad and felt there was now a convenient atmosphere for the beginning of dialogue and an Iraqi government delegation visited the Kurdistan Region, once again, the Prime Minister, in his press conference, spoke in a language which does not serve the current atmosphere and direction by giving some incorrect information concerning relevant questions with respect to the Kurdistan Region.”

Dizayee made it clear that to resolve the issue at hand, serious talks must take place rather than press conferences and remarks made on the side. He added that the Ministry of Oil for the KRG released reports monthly oil sales and revenue from 2014 until 2016’s end. The KRG was also been audited for the first six months of 2017 as well — a report on the overall process is scheduled to be released soon. It was also made clear that since Iraq’s membership in the good-governance Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a global collective, had been suspended since 2016. This meant that the reports released by Iraq’s Ministry of Oil were “not audited and ambiguous,” according to Dizayee.

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