Iraqi Kurdistan exported record volumes independently in July but says this is from necessity rather than to spite Baghdad. Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which reported record independent oil exports for July, has told international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the region that from September, it will start allocating part of the proceeds from the sales towards their overdue payments. Yet this is not a bid for greater independence by the Kurdish region, but a gradual reckoning by both Baghdad and Erbil that current political, economic and security conditions on the ground make it difficult for the two parties to honor their respective sides of the bargain.

The move points to the failure of a December export deal with Baghdad: both sides appear to have come to the unspoken conclusion that there is no other way of coping with the current cash squeeze. Baghdad cannot pay the KRG for its share of exports as its revenues decline, while Erbil needs to meet its commitments to the IOCs or risk a mass exodus from its once promising upstream sector. (CONTINUED - 2150 WORDS)