An oilfield in the Kurdistan Region. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The spokesperson of the KRG dismissed claims by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who had alleged that the Kurdish government exported 2 trillion Iraqi dinars (about $1.6 billion) of oil over the last three months of 2017, questioning the quality of the source of Abadi's information and his continued rhetoric at press conferences to try to resolve issues.
"The average of oil exports since after October 16 in the Kurdistan Region was 265,970 barrels of oil which was not sold in Brent price and its revenue did not reach two trillion as Abadi claims otherwise," announced Safeen Dizayee, the KRG spokesperson.
Abadi said on Tuesday that the KRG exported 2 trillion Iraqi dinars
of oil over the last three months of 2017. He claimed that production expenses amounted to about 313 billion dinars, leaving Erbil with monthly revenues of 544 billion dinars.
"Abadi says that the Kurdistan Region exported 450,000 barrels per day on a daily basis in October. It is clear to all sides that after the October 16 events, the Havana and Bai Hassan oilfields, which had a produce of 250,000 bpd daily, fell to the Iraqi government and North Oil Company, hence halting exports since," Dizayee explained, reiterating that has since halved the KRG revenues.
The KRG spokesman rejected that Erbil's monthly income was 544 billion dinars, saying neither Iraq nor the KRG oil sold at full Brent Crude prices.
"We do not know the source of this incorrect information with Abadi and how could he confirm them," Dizayee pondered.
Erbil has maintained that their revenues have been slashed nearly in half since the loss of Kirkuk oil fields to the Iraqi government in mid-October, leaving the government with a net of $337.4 million (about 400 billion dinars) for salaries after deducting essential expenses and payments to international energy companies.
The salaries of KRG employees and civil servants reach 850 billion dinars every month. The economic crisis forced the KRG reduce it to 600 billion with the saving system.
Yet, Abadi claims that the salaries are 300 billion dinars, the KRG spokesperson wondered, slamming the allocation of 334 billion dinars to the Region's government employees for a month in the Iraqi 2018 budget draft, down from 497 billion dinars in the 2017 budget law.
Dizayee described Abadi's press conference on Tuesday as not serving the current atmosphere of closeness between Erbil and Baghdad.
"While there is a lot of internal and international effort for the start of dialogue and the resolution of the Kurdistan Region and Iraqi federal government and while we saw positive signs from Baghdad and felt there was now a convenient atmosphere for the beginning of dialogue and an Iraqi government delegation visited the Kurdistan Region, once again, the Prime Minister, in his press conference spoke in a language which does not serve the current atmosphere and direction by giving some incorrect information concerning relevant questions with respect to the Kurdistan Region."
Dizayee expressed that serious talks are the right path to resolving the issues — not remarks or press conferences — which has been the case for the past three months wielding no result.
In his explanation, Dizayee added the KRG oil ministry released its monthly production, sale and oil revenues reports from 2014 until the end of 2016. Renowned Deloitte audited the KRG for the first six months of 2017 and will soon release the overall process in a report.
He described figures released by Iraqi Oil Ministry referenced by Abadi as "not audited and ambiguous" since Iraq's membership in the global, good-governance Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has been suspended.
Iraq's membership in EITI has been suspended since 2016 due to a lack of transparency.