Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani joined in celebrating the start of crude oil exports from the Kurdistan Region.
The export of crude oil from the Tawke and Taq Taq fields represents a landmark accomplishment for the Kurdistan Region that will bring in much needed revenues for the people of Iraq.
President Talabani underscored the importance of this day and the necessity of cooperation between Kurds and Arabs. "We must stress tolerance between Arabs and Kurds -- we have had a sense of brotherhood and this will remain." He added, "This is an historic event, not only for the Kurdish people but for all Iraqis."
President Barzani said, "We have proven in a clear, proper way that we are committed to the Constitution of Iraq. I congratulate everyone on this achievement, which will benefit all Iraqis." He added, "I wish much success for all the people of Iraq and of the Kurdistan Region; that we may live in prosperity and peace."
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani presented an overview of the KRG's position on oil exports. "We are happy to be part of a federal Iraq within a democratic constitutional framework. When we open these valves today, the Kurdistan Region will be earning hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for all the people of this country."
The Prime Minister added, "We are determined to use our natural resources in a constructive manner for the benefit of all Iraqi citizens, and to create a better future for ourselves and our neighbors, as well as for future generations. It is important to judge people not by what they say, but by what they do. Five years ago we promised to share our energy resources with Iraq. Today our actions and deeds speak for our words and promises."
Kurdistan Region Parliament Speaker Adnan Mufti emphasised the positive impact of this step, and expressed his hope for a bright future and enhanced development throughout Iraq.
Dr Ashti Hawrami, the KRG Minister for Natural Resources, spoke passionately of the need to facilitate Iraqi oil exports, based on modern methods and guided by the Iraqi Constitution.
The CEOs of the three principal oil firms involved in these fields -- Addax, DNO, and Genel Energy -- all expressed their happiness regarding the commencement of crude exports as well as the development of the Kurdistan Region over the last several years.
Technicians opened the valves from the two oil fields via live television feed, while President Talabani and Barzani came onstage together to thunderous applause. The oil will join the main Iraqi pipeline, which runs to Turkey and is then exported internationally.
Minister Hawrami said that some US $20 billion in oil revenue could be accrued in the next four years from the Kurdistan Region alone. Together, the Tawke and Taq Taq fields will initially produce about 100,000 barrels of oil per day.
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