News / Middle East

Seizure of Oilfields Fuels Kurd Statehood Dream

Seizure Of Oilfields Fuels Kurd Dreams Of Statehoodi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 16, 2014 12:17 AM
Last week's seizure of two large oil fields in Kirkuk by Kurdish fighters from northern Iraq will help their largely autonomous region achieve energy self-sufficiency, and is being viewed as another step by Kurdistan's regional government toward independence. The oil facilities had been abandoned by Iraqi forces, who retreated under an advance by militants of the Islamic State. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Henry Ridgwell

Along the desert horizon around Kirkuk, the bright flares from oil wells puncture the summer haze.

An estimated 4 percent of known global oil reserves lie beneath these sands.  It is a prize that Iraq’s Kurds, and its other ethnic and tribal groups, have long sought to control.

The Kurds’ opportunity came Friday, when their Peshmerga fighters seized the Kirkuk and Bai Hassan oil fields.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Minister for Natural Resources says the Kurds will be self-sufficient by the end of the year.

“We will be free with our own revenue as opposed to being under the thumb of dictators in Baghdad,” said Ashti Hawrami.

Baghdad insists all oil revenue should be channeled through the central government. This year it withheld part of the state budget after the Kurds began exporting oil via Turkey.

But with new oil fields under their control, the Kurdistan Regional Government or KRG has plans to expand production.

“There are plans for a larger refinery in Dohuk and a couple of smaller ones, an expansion of another one in Bazian, and those are actually, the Bazian (refinery) is under construction along with a couple of others for, let us say, lighter oil or condensate oil,” Hawrami said.

The problem will be finding the right buyers, says energy consultant Valérie Marcel of policy group Chatham House.

“Taking Kirkuk or KRG’s own exports, then the difficulty is more one of sovereignty, disputed oil," Marcel said. "So then really the problem is that likely potential buyers will not buy because they would be excluded from Iraq export sales in the future. So it would be too risky for them, for the classic purchasers.”

A new pipeline linking Kirkuk to Kurdistan’s own network and on to Turkey opened in May. The KRG says it hopes to export 400,000 barrels of oil per day by 2015, a potential game changer.

“The opening of the pipeline from Kurdistan to Turkey is really groundbreaking because it really does enable Kurdistan to turn away from Baghdad, to turn away from the Middle East proper, and towards Turkey and Europe," Marcel said. "And that opens all sorts of doors.”

In his modest house in Erbil, Omar Hassan Mawlood, 62, a former Peshmerga fighter, watches the historic events unfold on television.  he Kurds have long claimed Kirkuk is part of their ancestral homeland, and like many Kurds, Mawlood is ready to fight for it.

"In 1991, when the Iraqi army came from here to invade Kirkuk, I was there,” he said, adding that he is ready again to sacrifice himself, his blood, and his family if the Peshmerga needs him.

Amid the turmoil in Iraq, the Kurds sense an opportunity.  Its rulers see the oil fields of Kirkuk as the economic foundation of a future Kurdish state.  

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Azad Dewani from: United Kingdom
July 16, 2014 10:39 AM
More than 90 years of exploiting Kerkuk oil by the Iraqi governments in the corrupt purchases of armament used usually against Iraqis. In particular used against the Kurds of Kerkuk and surrounding area of Kurdistan which picked during Al-Anfal genocide campaign. It is time for Kurds to use this oil for building the life of Kurdistan peoples. It is time for prosperity and development. Exporting the Kurdish oil through Turkey is an advanced step for two reasons: 1. It bypasses the Jihadi unstable route of Perisan Gulf. 2. It limits the huge revenue of oil which the Iraqi central government might use again in building another dictatorship and more weapons.

by: meanbill from: USA
July 15, 2014 9:59 PM
DREAMS? ... The Kurdish dreams are just dreams, because Maliki will defeat the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) army, and form a new Iraq government, with or without the Kurds, and Maliki won't stand for anybody stealing Iraq oil, even if the US tries to defend them.... The Iraqi's won't fear anybody after they defeat the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) army..... and they fought the US before, didn't they?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More