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Secretary Pompeo's remarks at the Int'l Institute for Strategic Studies Manama Dialogue - 10:45 AM
20,565 views•Streamed live on Dec 4, 2020
By Adam Montana
Is OPEC’s No.2 Finally Complying With Output Cuts?
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Jun 09, 2020, 10:00 AM CDT
Join Our Community OPEC’s second-largest producer, Iraq, which also happens to be the least compliant member of OPEC+ since the group started managing supply to the market in 2017, may have finally started taking its obligations seriously.
Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) has asked some of the Asian buyers of its Basrah crude grades if they could give up delivery of some already contracted cargoes for loading this month and next, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News on Tuesday.
The request for buyers to forgo some cargoes for those months suggests that this time, Iraq may be earnest in its attempt to play ball in the OPEC+ production cuts, after being the biggest cheater in all previous pacts.
Iraq’s (as well as Nigeria’s) non-compliance with the record OPEC+ cuts in May nearly wrecked last week’s meeting of the pact, ahead of which the two leaders of the group, Saudi Arabia and Russia, had insisted that there would be an extension by one month to the current level of cuts only if laggards in compliance ensured over-compliance going forward to compensate for flouting their quotas so far.
OPEC+ agreed on Saturday to extend the record production cuts of 9.7 million bpd by one month through the end of July, contingent on all countries in the pact complying 100 percent with their quotas and compensating for lack of compliance by overachieving in the cuts in July, August, and September.
Before the meeting, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and then-acting Oil Minister, Ali Allawi, vowed that his country would further reduce production as it remains committed to the OPEC+ pact.
At the video news conference following the OPEC+ meeting, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, emphatically said on Monday that “We have no room whatsoever for lack of conformity.”
Today, Iraq’s new Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael, confirmed in a phone call with his Saudi counterpart Iraq’s “full commitment” to the cuts, OPEC said in a press release on Tuesday. Iraq confirms “its commitment to the voluntary oil production adjustments of June and July 2020, as well as the voluntary adjustments for the period following the end of July, despite the economic and financial challenges,” Ismaael told the Saudi energy minister.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
China: America is the most serious threat to world peace
2019-12-11 | 07:24 813 views Today, Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman described the United States as "the most serious threat to world peace," noting that Washington continues to fabricate charges against other countries.
Chun Ying said, in press statements, that the United States is doing this to start wars around the world, so the United States poses a great threat to international peace and security.
And this week, The Washington Post revealed testimonies and statements by American officials indicating that the US government was hiding the truth from the war in Afghanistan, and contradicted what the US presidents and military leaders announced that they had made progress in Afghanistan and that there was a requirement to enter into this war. .
What the newspaper disclosed is a slap in the face for American officials advocating for human rights, according to a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, but only reveals the visible portion of the floating iceberg.
Ying said that the United States took allegations of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as a pretext for directing military strikes in this country, which led to tens of thousands of casualties and the displacement of many Iraqis. Later the United States recognized that this pretext was fabricated and that evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq’s possession was washing powder.
Finally, the United States used the proofs of the White Helmets evidence of "chemical attacks" in Syria as an excuse to direct air strikes in this country, which led to many casualties and the displacement of many.
Hua Chun Ying pointed out that the United States is still fabricating the charges in order to start wars around the world, and thus has become the most serious threat to international peace and security and has also become the most serious violation of human rights.
By Adam Montana
Iraq-Saudi border crossing to reopen after nearly 30 years
A signpost close to the Arar border crossing between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — An Iraq-Saudi Arabia border crossing is set to reopen after nearly three decades of closure, Iraq’s border crossing department announced on Thursday.
A meeting held between Iraqi and Saudi border authorities at the Arar crossing set October 15 as a test period for its reopening, a department statement said.
Anbar provincial council member Amira Odaie spoke to Rudaw on Thursday about the meeting.
“Early on Thursday morning, Iraq’s border crossing department met with their Saudi Arabian counterparts to discuss the opening of Arar crossing border, in order to boost trades and tourism between the two countries,” Odaie said.
Opening the Arar crossing will also provide job opportunities to Anbar province’s young people currently suffering from high rates of unemployment, she added.
Graphic: Mohammed Alsafar | Rudaw English, Maps4news Arar crossing closed back in 1991, when relations between the two countries deteriorated after then-president Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Iraq-Saudi relations were further damaged under former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s tenure.
Rapprochement between the two began in 2015, when Saudi Arabia reopened their Baghdad embassy after 25 years of closure.
A Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council was established in October 2017 with the aim of strengthening relations between the two countries.
Vying for influence in the country over regional rival Iran, Saudi Arabia opened a consulate in Baghdad in April 2019 after a visit from a 100-person Saudi delegation, including nine ministers. Riyadh pledged $1.5 billion in loans to Iraq during the trip.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi visited Saudi Arabia later that month, when the two countries signed 13 deals in the fields of political consultation, investment promotion and protection, agriculture, energy, electricity, and higher education.
The Arar border crossing currently opens once a year, to allow Iraqi pilgrims to enter Saudi Arabia to perform the Islamic rite of Hajj.
By Adam Montana
Oil and gas laws: a crux of Erbil-Baghdad tension
By Omar Moradi yesterday at 11:14 Iraqi forces drive past an oil production plant as they head towards the city of Kirkuk on October 16, 2017. Photo: Ahmad al-Rubaye | AFP The lack of oil and gas federal legislation has been the root cause of problems between Erbil and Baghdad since the Iraqi constitution was approved in 2005. Now there is a government in Baghdad that has shown its desire to resolve these problems through dialogue, and the success of the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet depends on whether the oil and gas issue is resolved with Baghdad.
According to the constitution, it is the joint responsibility of both the federal and regional government to develop oil and gas resources through a particular oil and gas legislation. But as of yet, no such legislation has been passed, causing disagreements between the two governments.
Iraq's parliament unsuccessfully tried to pass a law on oil and gas in 2007. Following that, Kurdish parliament passed its own oil and gas law that same year, allowing the KRG to handle and develop the region’s natural resources.
The Kurdistan Region parliament’s oil and gas law gave it complete power over the region’s natural resources, much like an independent and sovereign country. The conditions of the oil market along with the law helped foreign companies invest substantially in the oil and gas sectors in the Kurdistan Region.
Investments in Kurdistan Region’s oil and gas sectors reached its peak when oil prices were high pre-2014, surpassing $20 billion. But after oil prices fell in mid-2014, the Kurdistan Region and the rest of the world's oil investors faced a deficit.
This shock was especially big in the Kurdistan Region. The federal government in Baghdad cut Kurdistan Region’s share of the federal budget in 2014, after which a big financial crisis rocked the Kurdistan Region. The impact of the crisis is still seen in the Region's economy. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) still owes money it borrowed during this time.
The KRG and federal government should resolve oil and budget problems in order for stability and certainty to return to the economy of the Kurdistan Region - otherwise a big opportunity will be missed.
The Iraqi constitution can help in this matter. According to Article 112 of the Iraqi constitution, the running of oilfields in Iraq is the responsibility of both federal and regional governments, or the provinces the oil lies in.
According to the oil and gas law of the Kurdistan Region, the KRG and its Ministry of Natural Resources are free to sign contracts with foreign companies that serve the interests of the Kurdistan Region. That is why the KRG signed nearly 50 contracts with oil companies after 2007 which are producing substantial amounts of oil and natural gas.
The KRG planned to produce a million barrels of oil per day, but couldn’t do so because of the Islamic State (ISIS) onslaught and falling oil prices after 2014. But because of its robust oil and gas legislation, it still has the ability to produce vast quantities of oil and gas in the coming years.
The Kurdistan Region’s oil and gas law shouldn’t be abandoned in negotiations between the KRG and federal government on the issue of oil sales and production. The oil and gas law of the Kurdistan Region allows for the setting up of a box for oil revenues. The law also considers the formation of some national companies for the exploration, production, and marketing of oil in the Kurdistan Region. The establishment of these national companies can reinvigorate the oil sector in the Kurdistan Region.
With regards to the sale of oil, the Kurdistan Region can give all or some of the oil it produces to the federal government via national companies and ask for its fair share in return. This will not reduce the Kurdistan Region’s control over its oil sector, as the KRG has its own oil and gas law, is running these sectors in its own way, and has established its own mechanism and infrastructure for the last 10 years.
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