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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid