Iraq’s Cash-Strapped Kurds Gear Up For Kirkuk Export Boost

The KRG faces mounting austerity as it looks to boost oil exports. With Kirkuk set to provide key extra volumes, its dispute with Baghdad may intensify.

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has increased pumping through its independent pipeline to Ceyhan to 240,000 b/d, a significant hike on September’s 180,000 b/d. But where the oil is going remains a mystery, with cargoes heading to sea but often not making their supposed destinations.

Baghdad has tightened the legal noose around Kurdish oil exports, blacklisting tankers that have handled Kurdish crude. The KRG’s marketing efforts have also suffered a setback because of the recent $20/B-plus fall in oil prices, further adding to the risk of handling the still evolving Kurdish export blend. (CONTINUED - 1056 WORDS)