Basra Testing Waters For More Autonomy Over Investments

With the battle between Baghdad and Erbil heating up, the Basra oil basin may be a less strident critic of the Iraqi government, but that does not mean that all is well in the southern marshes. Basra Governor Majid al-Nasrawi, speaking at a recent Iraq Future Energy conference in ‘Amman, Jordan, says the governorate wants a larger share of revenues from the federal government, beyond its petrodollar allocation of $5/B and its share of the federal budget in line with its population.

The Basra oil fields, which include the supergiant producing fields of Iraq, currently accounts for 90% of all oil produced in Iraq. Northern output has been curtailed by sabotage to the export pipeline, and with zero exports from the north, Basra terminals were the routes for all Iraqi exports last month totalling 2.6mn b/d. MEES estimates Iraqi production at 3.3mn b/d last month with Basra accounting for roughly 3mn b/d of the total. However, this level of activity comes at a price, with rising pollution and water shortages, he says. “We are in urgent need of strategic projects to help improve the environment and the damage caused by the oil industry that covers most of the province,” he says. Mr Nasrawi has grandiose plans for Basra, most important of which is a Fao terminal and train linking east and west all the way to Turkey. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the conference, the governor expressed dissatisfaction with the speed with which the federal authorities were approving projects and revealed plans by the governorate to build a refinery at Fao, soon to become a major oil storage terminal for Iraq, once all 24 storage tanks are completed, without obtaining federal approval. This, he said, would give Basra $5 for each barrel produced in the governorate and the same for each barrel refined. (CONTINUED - 639 WORDS)