Iraqi Kurdistan crude output at 115,000 bpd
Crude production from oilfields in Iraqi Kurdistan has reached 115,000 bpd, Iraq's deputy prime minister for energy said. The figure marks a sharp increase from levels of roughly 60,000-70,000 bpd reached in February 2011. Hussain Al Shahristani, who was oil minister for Iraq before becoming deputy prime minister, said the central government in Baghdad still would not recognise production-sharing agreements the Kurdistan Regional Government signed with international oil companies.
Exports from the semi-autonomous northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan resumed in 2011 after grinding to a halt in October 2009 as a result of a bitter dispute over contracts signed by the KRG. Baghdad considered the deals illegal.
“We are not going to recognise the contracts,” Shahristani said on the sidelines of a conference in Paris. “The KRG will present the invoices for capital investment that has been invested in that region to produce this oil. If these invoices are in line with market prices the minister of finance in Baghdad will compensate them.”
Shahristani said all crude from Iraqi Kurdistan was flowing via pipeline and would be exported by the State Oil Marketing Organisation (Somo). Kurdish Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami said that output could hit 250,000 bpd by the end of 2011.
Baghdad has signed a series of contracts with global majors that could increase Iraq's production capacity to between 8 mm and 12 mm bpd in the next few years, although analysts say 6-7 mm bpd is a more realistic target.
Asked if there was any concern over whether international oil companies could maintain high levels of output, Shahristani said: “We have no concerns about that. Our fields can support the levels they have been contracted for.”