Kurdish government says it has not exported oil via Baghdad in July

SULAIMANI (NRT) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has not exported oil through the Iraqi central government in July and continues to sell oil independently, a senior Kurdish official said on Sunday.

Spokesman Safeen Dizayee told NRT the KRG is still hoping to solve the budget and oil-revenue sharing dispute with Baghdad, and that negotiations are still ongoing.

“Despite the halt of oil exports via Baghdad, the negotiations are continuous and it is expected that Baghdad will send a delegation to the Kurdistan Region,” Dizayee said.

Concerning the KRG budget for June, Dizayee said Baghdad has yet to transfer funds, and it is unclear when or how much of a payment Erbil will receive.

Kurdish officials maintain that Baghdad has not sent Erbil its fair share of the federal budget under a revenue-sharing agreement struck in December 2014, but Iraqi officials have accused the KRG of not transferring enough crude oil to the Iraqi State Organization for Marketing Oil (SOMO).

Erbil has independently exported up to 600,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) since June, Dizayee told Bloomberg News earlier this month.

Officials in Baghdad consider all oil sales outside of SOMO to be illegal, but Kurdish authorities say they have resorted to independent exports to make up for a growing budget deficit.

Head of the Natural Resources Committee in the Kurdistan Parliament, Sherko Jawdat, said the KRG independently sold over 12.6 million barrels of oil in June in an attempt to solve the region’s financial crisis.

Independent sales in May alone brought in $750 million in revenue for the region, which is hosting over 1.5 million refugees and displaced Iraqis, as well as fighting a war against Islamic State (IS) militants that is entering its second year.