Exxon Mobil in Kirkuk for oil exploration
Despite the persistent tensions between the central government and Kurdistan Regional Government, of which a part is associated with oil, the KRG is currently attempting to extend its oil industries to Kirkuk.
The administrations of the Qarahanjir sub-district of Kirkuk announced that Exxon Mobil will start oil exploration beginning in March as delegates of the company visited the sub-district for the first time. The administrator of Qarahanjir, Avesta sheikh Muhammad, told Mada Press “Delegates of Exxon Mobil headed by the company’s public relations officer visited the Qarahanjir sub-district on January 1 to meet the administration staff of the sub-district and for further evaluation of the region.” “Agreements between the company and the KRG are speculated, as the company will be carrying out oil explorations and extraction in some areas of Kurdistan,” Sheikh Muhammad added. “We expect the company to start its duties by March in the Qarahanjir, Qadir Karam, and Jabara sub-districts, as the development in the oil industries will further benefit Kirkuk, Kuristan, and Iraq,” he added. Qarahanjir, which is one of the disputed territories, lies to the north of Kirkuk between the cities of Kirkuk and Sulaimania.
The administration staff of the sub-district is appointed by the KRG. Analysts think that this attempt of the KRG for extending their oil industries in the disputed territories to be a response for the central government, as the Iraqi Minister of Oil Abdulkarim Li’eby has previously announced that they have initial agreements with the British BP company for developing of the Northern Kirkuk oil fields which struggles with a low production output. The announcement sparked fierce reactions by the Kurdish officials, who warned the British company to stay out between the political conflicts between Baghdad and Erbil. In an interview with the BBC, the Kurdish Minister of Natural Resources, Ashti Hawrami said “The Kurdistan region is in no need for permissions from the central government regarding their financial and economical developments, as the Iraqi constitution has granted Kurdistan all the rights to do so.”
“We are about to build an oil transport pipeline system to Turkey without even telling the central government about it,” Hawrami added.