The Kurdistan region is currently one of the most heavily explored areas in the world. Resolution of current conflicts between the KRGF and the federal government would allow the region to produce between 500,000 to 800,000 bpd in 2020 and between 750,000 to 1.2 million bpd by 2035, marking a considerable shift in Iraq’s output.
Last year, Ashti Hawrami declared that ExxonMobil had signed production sharing contracts (PSCs) for six exploration blocks in the country. The move was the culmination of years of astute political positioning in relation to Baghdad in order to secure investment and political and commercial safety for the nascent Kurdish oil industry. But things have changed over the year, companies that have signed PSCs in the north are now barred from activity in the south. Exxon itself has been looking to divest its southern stakes as it continues to invest in the Kurdistan region.
Hawrami’s department presides over the Kurdish region’s estimated 45 billion barrels of oil, which has only just begun to be tapped by a number of independent companies. His next challenge will be to maintain the government’s central position as investment drives the region’s next era of consolidation and the really big players come to town.