World Bulletin / News Desk
Oil and gas exports from the Iraqi Kurdish administration to Turkey and Europe could begin as early as at the end of this year, natural resources minister Ashti Hawrami said Thursday.
Turkey and northern Iraq are seeking to enhance energy relations, the former being one of the largest energy consumers in Europe, while the latter is on its way to become a major regional energy supplier.
"The exports will start as soon as technical issues are sorted. Assuming no new obstacles will crop up, it can be as early as before the New Year's Eve," Hawrami told an international energy conference in Istanbul.
Turkey exports over seventy percent of its energy needs, and is looking to diversify its natural gas portfolio by establishing better ties with the Iraqi Kurdish administration.
Northern Iraq is keen to tap into its vast oil and gas reserves, but faces opposition from the central Iraqi government, which maintains that any deals that the Iraqi administration strikes on its own are illegal.
Hawrami said his administration was acting in line with the constitution.
"We don't need permission to export oil. Our constitution gives us the right. It's all about transparency, and we will sell transparently."
Both Washington and Ankara support constitutionally legal efforts for northern Iraq's potential to thrive.
Anglo-Turkish energy company Genel Energy's CEO Tony Hayward said the Iraqi administration's energy development would benefit both Iraq and Turkey.
"We observe rapid progress in northern Iraq; the production capacity will reach one million barrels per day in a few years," Hayward said.
"Natural gas resources have also been enhanced. The next stage is to set the proper infrastructure to carry all this to the market. The closest market is Turkey. This means 20-25 percent of Turkey's gas needs. All these initiatives are very beneficial for both Turkey and Iraq," he said.Last Mod: 22 Kasım 2013, 10:08