MESOP : KURDISH OIL FOR THE MULLAH’S ? – Iraqi Kurdistan govt denies Barzani blocking efforts at energy deal with Iran

22 May 2016 – RUDAW – Erbil, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— The spokesman for Iraqi Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) has denied claims that the Prime Minister has become an obstacle for an oil and gas deal with Iran.

Safeen Dizayee was quoted in a May 22 statement on the KRG’s official website, in which he refused allegations that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is using PM Nechirvan Barzani to delay an energy agreement with the Iranian government.

“Discussions between the KRG and Iranian government about the energy cooperation will continue in a technical manner,” Dizayee said.

“KRG policy is to have good relations with all neighbor countries in different fields, including the energy field, so concerning this policy, we have good relations with Iran,” the spokesman added.Iranian officials announced earlier this year that Tehran had offered the Iraqi Kurdistan access to the Persian Gulf for export of its crude oil, after a series of disruptions halted the shipment of Kurdistan’s oil through the Turkish Ceyhan port on the Mediterranean coast. KRG representative Nazim Dabbagh said that Iranian authorities expressed willingness to strike a deal with Erbil on energy cooperation.

“Iraq will have no problem with the project if also the oil from Kirkuk is sent to Iran through that pipeline,” Dabbagh said, referring to Iraqi concerns over the pipeline.

Last week, Ali Panahi, the Iranian deputy consul in Sulaimani, told Rudaw that negotiations are still ongoing about the proposed pipeline, which could help export up to 250,000 barrels of Kurdish oil per day (bpd) to Iran’s southern coasts for shipping to international buyers.“Iraq has not given the green light to approve the project,” Panahi said, referring to construction of the pipeline. A delegation from the Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) visited Tehran in April, seeking a deal to export the region’s oil and gas to its neighbor to the east.