An exact estimate of the volumes of crude being trucked to Iran is unknown, but reports place it at about 30,000 barrels per day. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The United States does not support oil exports from the autonomous Kurdistan Region outside of the Iraqi federal government’s approval, a US consulate official said, following reports of new oil sales through Iran by Erbil.
According to the Iraqi Business News, a new trade route into Iran has been active for two-months now, trucking crude from Kurdish fields over the border to Iran’s Bandar Khomeini export terminal.
The official at the US consulate in Erbil reiterated that the United States position on energy trade remains unchanged, stating Washington’s disagreement on independent oil sales by Erbil and the opening of the trade route.
An exact estimate of the volumes of crude being trucked to Iran is unknown, but reports place it at about 30,000 barrels per day.
“We call upon both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to work out their differences through dialogue without delay in order to enhance Iraq’s investment climate and the prospect of greater prosperity for all Iraqis,” the US official said.
The United States regards the growing tension over oil as a further complication in Iraq, which is already struggling with renewed and widespread sectarian violence.
The approval of the trade route into Iran is another defiant move by the KRG, showing its continued disregard to Baghdad’s claim as the sole governing body of all of Iraq’s oil exports and contracts.
KRG officials are also eagerly awaiting the opening of a new pipeline that will allow the Kurdish region to export crude into Turkey, opening the self-rule enclave’s oil resources to the world.
Baghdad has warned of dire consequences for the KRG if the pipeline -- called the Taq Taq-Khurmala-Fish Khabur pipeline and set to be completed by the end of this year – is brought online.
In anger at the KRG’s increasingly independent and defiant energy policy Baghdad has made budget cuts in allocations to Erbil. Pressure from these cuts has led the KRG to develop new trade routes to regain the revenue owed by Baghdad.
The US official also warned against any business dealings with Iran by the KRG.
“We regularly advise governments in the region that now is not the time to do business with Iran, and will continue to do so,” the official said.
Washington considers Iran’s Islamic government as a rogue regime, and does not have diplomatic relations with Tehran.