An employee works at the Tawke oil fields in the semiautonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.
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Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan has for the first time detailed its secretive oil exports operations and said it plans to sell more, whether Baghdad likes it or not, as it needs money to survive and fight ISIS.Kurdistan says it had been forced to bypass Baghdad and begin exporting oil directly because the latter refused to respect budgets in 2014 and 2015 .Kurdistan is exporting over 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil – or every seventh barrel of OPEC's second largest exporter – and believes that Baghdad has now accepted, at least in part, direct Kurdish exports going to as many as 10 countries.With new pipelines completed, the Kurdistan Regional Government still needed to find buyers for its oil, effectively one large tanker every two days.In December 2014, Baghdad and Irbil signed a deal under which Kurdistan would transfer some average 550,000 bpd to Iraqi state oil firm SOMO over the course of 2015 while receiving 17 percent of Iraqi budget or over $1.1 billion a month.SOMO is still threatening to sue buyers of Kurdistan oil, but appears compliant with Irbil's handling of the Kirkuk oil field, which is not under the authority of the KRG, but whose exports of 150,000 bpd have been handled for months by the Kurds via Turkish ports.
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