Kurdistan Region of Iraq Overview
Oil Reserves45 billion barrels
Oil Production451,000 bopd
Gas Reserves5.7 tcm
Gas Production1.88 bcm
Kurdistan Region of Iraq: New Alliances
While oil and gas discoveries in what is now the Kurdistan Region of Iraq date back to the 1920s, it wasn’t until the first independents started arriving in the mid-2000s that the region’s hydrocarbons industry got off the ground. Under the guidance of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Ministry of Natural Resources and Minister Dr. Ashti Hawrami, the oil and gas industry in the Kurdistan Region was soon able to attract the world’s major international operators, starting with ExxonMobil in 2011, followed by Chevron, Gazprom and Total one year later.
From 2014 to 2016, oil and gas development was held back by the arrival of Islamic State, the drop in oil prices, provisions for internally displaced people and the cut-off of budget payments from Baghdad, which together put a strain on the KRG’s budget and its ability to pay oil companies. However, 2017 has seen a dramatic shift in the Kurdistan Region’s oil and gas prospects, chiefly driven by the entrance of oil giant Rosneft.
The Russian company has signed on to take operatorship of five blocks as well as the Kurdistan Crude Export Pipeline, pledging investments in the billions. This influx of funds has allowed the KRG to settle debts with IOCs, who in turn are ramping up development. Rosneft also plans a gas export pipeline to meet demand from an expected gas boom in the Kurdistan Region, and has signed a 20-year deal for crude purchases. Conflict with Baghdad resulting from September 2017’s independence referendum created uncertainty but the KRG has remained steadfast in its payments to operators and Rosneft has voiced unwavering determination to pursue its game-changing investments.
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