2019-03-01 16:55:00

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Thursday rejected reports that it plans to hand the Kurdistan Region’s oil to the Federal Government of Iraq.

In a statement on the KRG website, spokesperson Safeen Dizayee clarified reports local media published which suggested the KRG planned to hand over its oil to the Iraqi government.

The reports were circulated following a meeting on Wednesday between the KRG’s Regional Oil and Gas Council and relevant Iraqi officials.

Dizayee said these rumors were “baseless” and “fabricated, and are far from the truth, adding Wednesday’s meeting “was a regular meeting.”

“The KRG, as it always does, affirms its readiness and willingness to resolve problems and disputes with the Iraqi Federal Government through dialogue,” the spokesperson said in the statement.

Following the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum in September 2017, relations between Erbil and Baghdad deteriorated, chief among them was the administration of oil fields, primarily in the disputed province of Kirkuk.

Crude from Kirkuk had been exported to Turkey since 2014 after Kurdish forces retained control of the disputed province and protected it from Islamic State attacks.

However, the export of 300,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) to Turkey was halted in October 2017 following the attack and military takeover of Kirkuk by Iraqi forces and Shia-dominated militias, a move in retaliation for the referendum.

After the October attack, the KRG lost half of its oil revenues, according to the Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani.

The Kurdish government largely depends on oil revenue—which makes up over 90 percent of the Kurdistan Region’s income—to cover basic expenditures, including government employees’ salary, and public services.