Iraq's Kurds to Start Natural Gas Exports to Turkey in 2019-2020

  • Gas exports to be doubled later, cost of link not finalized
  • Kurdish region holds 3 percent of world's total gas reserves

Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region plans to start exporting 10 billion cubic meters a year of natural gas to Turkey by 2019-2020, according to an official at the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

The KRG will double gas exports to 20 billion cubic meters a year by the early 2020s, the official said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. He was clarifying remarks made on Thursday by Bewar Al-Khinsi, economic security adviser at the KRG’s Kurdistan Protection Agency, who had said gas exports will start by the end of 2016.

The final plans and costs for the project haven’t yet been finalized, the official said, asking not to be named because of ministry policy.

Gas exports will allow the self-governed region to generate much needed revenue and will bring it closer to economic independence. A 35 percent collapse in the price of Brent crude last year is adding to strain on KRG finances at a time when the regional government is fighting Islamic State militants that control much of northern Iraq.

The Kurds have long chafed against control by Arab-led governments in Baghdad, and gas exports would enhance their financial self-sufficiency. The Kurdish region could hold as much as 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, more than Algeria or Nigeria, data from BP Plc show. Kurdish reserves represent about 3 percent of the world’s total deposits, according to the website of the KRG Ministry of Natural Resources.

Work on the gas export pipeline will not start next month and will not link Khor Mor or Chemchamal fields, according to tweets from the KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources. Khor Mor is used for local gas supply to power stations and Chemchamal is not yet developed, it said.

The “goal is for Repsol’s Kurdamir and Topkhana fields to also deliver gas for export and local use in addition to Bina Bawi and Mira,” the ministry said.

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