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KRG 'strongly denies' accusations of oil smuggling, overproduction: statement

2020-09-24

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SULAIMANI — The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has rejected comments made this week by the federal finance minister accusing it of being a possible source of overproduction and oil smuggling.

In a statement published on Thursday (September 24), the KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources “strongly” denied the accusations, saying that they “are baseless, are completely speculative, and are made without any evidence.”

Citing audits performed by Deloitte of its oil production, the statement went on to say that the federal government should “follow KRG’s example by independently auditing and publishing their own production, local consumption, and export volumes to create greater transparency and accountability in [the] oil sector throughout all of Iraq.”

On Tuesday, federal finance minister Ali Allawi told the Powering Iraq conference that “there are indications that the KRG is not cutting back to the limits required by the OPEC+ agreement for which federal Iraq has to make up this difference.”

“There might be leakages from some other [Kurdish] oil fields, or there might be leakages that go into trucking to various points, but we are not aware of the amounts,” he added.

Iraq as a whole, including the Kurdistan Region, is required to cut its oil production under the OPEC+ agreement reached in April, but routinely misses its target.

“The KRG has already reduced its production after the [OPEC+] agreement, and its recent gross production figures have been well below the fair pro rata levels compared with the rest of Iraq,” the statement continued.

A Deloitte report has not been issued for 2020 yet, so that claim could not be verified using the method suggested by the ministry itself.

The KRG said that it continued to engage with the federal government on oil and gas issues and that it was committed to resolving its differences with Baghdad in accordance with the constitution.

(NRT Digital Media)