A Turkish state oil company is in advanced talks to take stakes in several blocks in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish north, MEES understands. If realized, the investment will mark a major escalation in the oil dispute between central government in Baghdad on the one hand and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Turkey on the other.

The Turkey KRG talks come in the context of a major regional power realignment. A new energy order is forming, marked by the emergence of Turkey as a preeminent regional power, Ankara vs Tehran/Baghdad rivalry and the resurgence of Russian influence in the Middle East. Escalating regional rivalries are being played out along three main axes – politically through respective positions on Tehran’s dispute over its nuclear program and the uprising in Syria and thirdly through positioning strategic energy investments, both in the KRG and in the Eastern Mediterranean. By contrast, the last two years have seen direct US influence in Iraq wane, as reflected by the imminent departure of ExxonMobil from the 2.825mn b/d West Qurna 2 field development – the only major US-led oil project in southern Iraq. (CONTINUED - 1627 WORDS)