Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Kurdistan Regional Government pushes independence; what’s the oil angle?

Survivors for centuries in one of the Middle East’s roughest neighborhoods, Iraq’s Kurds have learned to keep their options open. However, any lingering doubt that they might be aiming for independence sooner rather than later vanished this month with the sudden appearance of a Kurdish “national anthem” on the Kurdistan Regional Government website.

“Ey Reqib”, or “Hey, Enemy”, was written in 1938 by Yunis Reuf, a Kurdish poet and anti-Ottoman political activist also known as Dildar, who was born 20 years earlier in the town of Koi Sanjaq in what is now the Erbil governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan. Before dying at age 31 of heart problems, Dildar saw his poem adopted as the national anthem of the Kurdistan republic in Mahabad (currently part of Iran), which was founded in 1946 and lasted for only a year.

Now the KRG has proclaimed it the official anthem of South Kurdistan, an alternative name for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It’s a name that tips its hat to the long-held Kurdish ambition of establishing a Greater Kurdistan state encompassing parts of Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

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The Oil Big Five: Your comments include Iraq, Africa, refining, and OPEC

You’ve read about the big topics our Platts experts think are most interesting for July, and now we want to turn our attention to our readers.

In our monthly The Oil Big Five feature, we poll our global oil experts for what they consider the most pressing or interesting aspects of the oil industry at the moment. We follow each post by rounding up some of the comments, and below you can see (in no particular order) some of the reactions we had from our readers, both on the blog as well as on social media.

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The Oil Big Five: Is anyone surprised that Iraq tops our list?

Welcome to The Oil Big Five for July 2014, where we list the big issues that are keeping our Platts oil experts busy around the globe. You can find our last posting here, which had the problem of not posting comments for a short time when it first went up. We really appreciate everyone who commented on the blog once it was fixed, though, as well as those who sent us feedback on Twitter. The latest round-up of reader comments can be found here, and be sure to comment again for the follow-up to this post.

Here are the biggest oil issues or trends that our editors and experts nominated to be a part of the post this month. Read the rest of this entry »

Kurds in northern Iraq sell crude cargoes for $100 million, 9% below alternative oil

The government of the Kurdish region of Iraq and the government in Baghdad have been locked in a battle in recent weeks over shipments of crude produced from that quasi-independent area.

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Baiji oil refinery secured as Iraq fighting continues

Iraqi government forces regained full control Thursday of the country’s biggest oil refinery following heavy fighting as the country scrabbles to contain the Sunni militants which still threaten further advances in northern Iraq.

Insurgents pressing the major offensive were repelled from the 320,000 b/d-capacity Baiji plant after clashes Wednesday and early Thursday, according to reports. Fighting began at the refinery early on Wednesday, when some storage tanks for oil products were set ablaze.

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The Oil Big Five: Your thoughts about what’s important in June

The second installation of The Oil Big Five hit a snag when we realized that comments weren’t coming through on our blog platform, so this follow-up is a week later than we wanted.

But regardless of timing, we wanted to feature the comments from our readers, both here on the blog as well as on social media. We know what our oil experts and editors think are the most important trends worldwide, but what about you? Do you agree with what others have said?

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Iraq’s southern crude oil exports: how safe is safe?

Iraqi oil minister Abdul-Karim al-Luaibi was in Vienna for OPEC talks when Iraq’s second city fell to islamist fighters. He acknowledged that Iraq might not now be able to resume crude flows along the Iraq-Turkey pipeline, which has been closed since early March after sabotage, but insisted that the south of the country was “very, very safe” and that Baghdad would continue to export crude from its Gulf terminals.

Governments in oil-consuming countries will undoubtedly be hoping that Luiabi’s faith in Baghdad’s ability to protect its southern oil fields and export infrastructure is not misplaced.

But what if these jhadists, who have been able to take control of a huge swathe of northern Iraq, continue their push toward the south?

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Iraqi turmoil casts cloud over crude oil and steel trade

The spreading crisis in northern Iraq over the past three days has cast additional uncertainty on a time frame for the return of the country’s troubled Kirkuk export crude oil grade — and the regional tension is also clouding the outlook for the country’s steel trade with Turkey.

Turkish steel rebar exports, already under pressure from increasingly competitive China-origin shipments to the Middle East and Africa, may lose Iraq as a market following the takeover this week of the country’s second city of Mosul by Islamist insurgents.

And earlier this week, market sources said that pumping of the oil grade, which is loaded out of the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast, is now not expected to resume until August at the very earliest, and the ever-strengthening position of the jihadists in the region has only added to the grade’s uncertain future.

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Kurdish forces move to protect Iraq’s Kirkuk oil hub

• UN Security Council begins Iraq crisis talks
• Afren, Gulf Keystone fall on investor unease
• Fate of northern Kirkuk oil exports on ice

Kurdish forces took control of the Iraqi northern oil hub of Kirkuk on June 12 to protect the major oil field against advancing Sunni militants in a move that appeared to ease concerns over control of Kurdistan’s growing oil infrastructure.

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The Oil Big Five: trends, market drivers and global issues

This is our second installment of The Oil Big Five, where we ask Platts oil experts around the globe to outline five big trends or factors affecting the oil industry. We were glad to hear from you, our readers, on our first post, and we featured your top responses in our follow-up post. Be sure to leave us a comment and tell us what you think about our picks as well as what you see as the biggest influences in your part of the industry.

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