Turkey on Saturday halted oil imports from the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq after international arbitration ruled in Iraq’s favor in a dispute between Baghdad and Ankara over oil exports from the region, the oil ministry said. . Asim Jihad, spokesman for Iraq’s Oil Ministry, told AFP that “Turkey has informed the authorities in the Kurdistan region to suspend exports in accordance with the court order”.
And according to a document issued by the Iraqi Petroleum Transport Office in the Turkish port of Ceyhan, which Jihad confirmed, “on 03/25/2023 at 12:35 pm, the pumping of the Turkish side stations was stopped”.
The move, which Turkish officials have yet to comment on, follows an arbitration decision by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris in favor of Iraq in a dispute with Turkey over oil exports from the Iraqi Kurdistan region. .
The dispute dates back to 2014, when Baghdad filed a lawsuit against neighboring Turkey in an arbitration court, challenging Ankara’s claim that it was exporting oil from the Iraqi Kurdistan region to global markets without Iraqi government permission.
The Iraqi government, which has a sometimes tense relationship with the Iraqi Kurdistan region, strongly opposed Turkey’s decision, as it is the only party entitled to manage the region’s oil exports and revenues.
Despite opposition from Baghdad, Erbil exported oil via Turkey. The region’s export rate is around 450,000 barrels per day.
The Iraqi Oil Ministry said on Saturday that the international arbitration decision “obliges all parties to respect international agreements and conventions in this regard” and confirms “that the Oil Ministry, through the Iraqi oil trading company SOMO, is the only entity authorized to manage export operations “through the Turkish port of Ceyhan”.
Based on Thursday’s decision, the ministry said in a statement that it was “discussing mechanisms for Iraqi oil exports through the Turkish port of Ceyhan” with relevant authorities in the Kurdistan region and “with Turkish authorities to ensure the continuation of oil exports.” and fulfill SOMO’s obligations to international companies through Ceyhan port.
For his part, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrur Barzani, announced on Twitter that a team from the Kurdistan Regional Government “will visit Baghdad tomorrow for a dialogue based on the goodwill of our discussions”.
The oil file is the main point of contention between the central government in Baghdad and the regional government of Kurdistan. Erbil believes the central government is trying to grab the region’s oil wealth, while Baghdad wants to have a say in managing Kurdistan’s oil resources.
Iraq is the second largest country in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and exports an average of 3.3 million barrels of crude oil per day.
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