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Iraqi Kurdish ambitions could benefit Russia vs Turkey

Monday, July 24, 2017

Significance

Turkey has long been the key player in Iraqi Kurdistan's oil and gas sector, facilitating oil exports and offering gas transit. However, the Kurdish referendum, coupled with Ankara's increasingly aggressive stance towards Syrian Kurdish guerrillas in the People's Protection Units (YPG), threatens to sour political relations and affect Turkish operators in the region. At the same time, increasing Russian involvement in Kurdish hydrocarbons, and a Turkish change of strategy, could pit those two countries against each other.

Impacts

  • The KRG may cancel rights to exploration blocks granted to Turkish state company TEC as no investment has taken place.
  • Rosneft's 1-billion-dollar investment in KRG is likely to include new pipelines and refining capacity, reducing dependence on Turkey.
  • Botas's plans for a gas pipeline from the Iraqi Kurdish border to its east-west transit infrastructure are likely to remain on hold.
  • With no clear picture of what is happening at Genel Energy, further changes in equity ownership seem likely.
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