KURDISH MINISTRY DISPUTES BLOOMBERG STORY ON KURDISH OIL SALE

(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources and received
via electronic mail. The release was confirmed.) 
MNR refutes inaccurate and harmful report about KRG oil sales
by Bloomberg news agency 
Statement by Ministry of Natural Resources 
Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (MNR.KRG.org) - The Ministry of
Natural Resources (MNR) is surprised and disappointed that
Bloomberg news agency should see fit to publish a story about
Kurdistan Regional Government oil sales that is full of
inaccuracies, half-truths and highly partisan comment. 
The article, titled Half-Price Kurdish Oil Threatens Iraq
Breakup With Turkish Help, was published by Bloomberg on June
19. 
At a time of great tension for Iraq, such shoddy reporting,
analysis and editorialising seems calculated to cause further
division and mistrust, and could also harm the financial
interests of the KRG and Iraq. 
Before publication, Bloomberg made no attempt to contact KRG
officials for comment or verification. Bloomberg framed the
story and used quotes and language in such a way as to accuse
the KRG and Turkey of trying to break up Iraq and steal Iraq’s
money. 
The KRG would never consider exporting and selling the natural
resources of Iraq at “half price,” either now or in the future,
as is alleged by an anonymous source quoted by Bloomberg and
which supplies the lurid headline. 
The KRG sells oil through the pipeline to Ceyhan on an
international commercial market basis and unlike SOMO (the State
Oil Marketing ‎Organisation, which claims an illegal monopoly
over Iraq’s oil sales), it is able to deliver cargoes to its
customers on its own vessels. 
Despite all the blackmail and threats by SOMO and the Ministry
of Oil in Baghdad, the KRG has been able to deliver oil to its
customers under commercially viable contracts, and all payments
are being made into the KRG’s account in Turkey. 
Export volumes are expected to double within the next weeks. 
The KRG-managed export process is legal, constitutional and
irreversible and the revenues will benefit the people of the
Kurdistan Region and Iraq, helping to spread economic
development, which is vital for security and stability. 
The KRG conducts its business on a transparent basis with the
required documentation of surveys, quantity and quality
documentation being undertaken by internationally accepted
practitioners. The KRG has repeatedly invited officials from
SOMO to observe the sales process. 
The KRG has always argued that the key to Iraq’s unity is power-sharing and revenue-sharing as is demanded by the Constitution
of 2005. KRG oil sales are conducted within the framework of the
Constitution and the Region’s Oil and Gas Law of 2007, which
according to Articles 115 and 121 of the Constitution,
supersedes the antiquated legal provisions on oil used by
Baghdad. 
The export activities fall within the Kurdistan Region’s 17
percent entitlement of the federal Iraqi budget. 
That budget has been illegally withheld by the federal Prime
Minister, Nuri al Maliki at a time when the Peshmerga forces are
helping all Iraqis by fighting the scourge of terrorism. 
The KRG is currently owed billions of dollars by the federal
government and has been forced to borrow money on the
international market and accelerate the oil sales process in
order to preserve peace and stability. 
Nevertheless the KRG remains open to dialogue with officials in
Baghdad, whomever they may be, to resolve all outstanding issues
on oil and gas within the framework of the Constitution. 
’The policy of centralisation and discrimination have put Iraq’s
future at risk,’ said Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami
at the CWC Iraq Petroleum Conference in London on ‎June 17.‎ “As
of last week (following the crisis in Mosul) there is a new
Iraq. Iraq needs power-sharing, revenue-sharing and adherence to
the constitution. Otherwise we will have more chaos in Iraq.’ 
The KRG expects international news agencies such as Bloomberg to
treat such complex and sensitive issues as the management of
Iraq’s oil and gas resources with professional detachment and
skill, and for its reporters and editors to be aware of the
Constitutional issues, to check facts, to not publish damaging
claims by unnamed sources, to avoid editorialising, and to allow
opportunities to counter any false allegations made before
publication. 
Michael Howard
Senior Advisor to the Minister
Communications & Public Affairs
Ministry of Natural Resources
Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq
michael.howard@mnr.krg.org
+964 7504777644
+964 7702115450
+44 7985950086 
(bjh) NY 
#<873920.660640.3.13.0.0.76>#
 
 
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