The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) will deliver revenue to Baghdad from the sale of 250,000 barrels of its oil per day, according to Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference during his visit to the southern city of Basra, Ghadhban said he was pleased to receive the oil revenue in accordance with the agreement for the 2019 state budget.
The KRG produces 420,000 barrels of oil per day and this could reach 550,000 barrels by the end of the year, he said.
Iraqi President Barham Salih approved the government's 2019 budget on Feb. 4, which was originally submitted to parliament in October 2018 and had been debated since then. The budget projected oil exports of 3.88 million barrels per day, which includes 250,000 from the KRG.
- Baghdad-Erbil relations
Relations between the Iraqi government and the KRG strained when the Erbil administration exported oil independently from Baghdad in 2014. The Baghdad administration cut the KRG's budget while the salaries of 1.4 million thousand civil servants, and payments were not made until 2017.
Later, in the wake of the September 2017 unconstitutional referendum for independence of the KRG from the central government, Baghdad responded to the illegitimate poll by imposing a broad range of sanctions on the Erbil-based KRG. It reduced the share of KRG's payment in the 2018 budget from 17 percent to 12.6 percent.
Oil activity had been halted for nearly a year after Iraqi forces seized control of all parts of Iraq 'disputed' between Baghdad and Erbil, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province, until Nov. 16, 2018, when Iraq's federal government and the KRG reached a tentative agreement to resume oil exports from Kirkuk to Ceyhan.
Reporting by Haydar Karaalp in Baghdad
Additional reporting and writing by Firdevs Yuksel