Iraq expects to seal a deal that would allow the resumption of oil production in Kurdish oil fields within this week.
According to a Reuters news report, Iraqi oil minister Hayan Abdel-Ghani stated that an agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and foreign oil companies to resume oil production from the Kurdish region’s oilfields was expected to be reached within three days.
Abdel-Ghani made these remarks during a visit to Erbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. He also revealed that Iraq had reached an "understanding" with Turkey regarding the resumption of northern oil exports through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline.
In March 2023, Turkey halted 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of northern exports through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline following an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration ruling, which ordered Ankara to pay Baghdad damages of approximately $1.5 billion for unauthorized exports by the KRG between 2014 and 2018.
On Sunday, Abdel-Ghani and senior federal oil officials commenced meetings with the KRG's Ministry of Natural Resources and Kurdish energy officials to address the issue.
"The goal of this meeting is to settle all outstanding issues to facilitate the resumption of oil production and exports," Abdel-Ghani told reporters in Erbil.
"The first step is to collaborate with the region and companies to modify their existing contracts to align with Iraq's constitution. Within three days, we could have a deal."
Iraqi government oil officials held their first meeting with representatives of the Association of the Petroleum Industry of Kurdistan (APIKUR) last Wednesday to discuss the resumption of oil flows to Turkey, with the latest development giving hope for a resumption of oil exports soon.
APIKUR's members include international oil and gas companies with direct or indirect interests in upstream oil or gas contracts in Iraq's Kurdistan region, many of which have been forced to halt production due to the pipeline closure.