If all the territories populated by Kurds were one united country – an independent state they would most definitely be one of the biggest oil producers in the world, given their production only in Iraq of 600,000 barrels per day. And the region potential is even greater. It is estimated that there are over 45 billion barrels of reserves in Iraqi Kurdistan – more than Nigeria’s. Kurdistan is one of the last wildcards in the oil markets. There is no clear monopoly in the region – that’s where all the disputes come from.
Some of the big companies include Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Total SA and DNO ASA. The last one is the biggest player on the ground – exporting more than 110,000 barrels a day. There are still a lot of roadblocks for big companies, though. Prices have been very volatile – $100 per barrel from 2011 to 2014 and down to $60 in 2015. Another major issue has been that this is effectively a war zone still. ISIS are merely 30 km from Erbil – Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital.
Also there have been many dispute with the Shia (Iran) dominated government in Iraq. Kurdish forces have occupied territories around the Sunni dominated Kirkuk – very rich on oil. Iraq government declared that they won’t sell oil to anyone buying from the Kurds, but if the situation on the ground continues to develop in the same direction, more and more investor would prefer to buy from the Kurds. The territories controlled by the Kurds have remained relatively peaceful and Kurdistan controls almost half of the oil in Iraq. Some Russian companies also show interest in the region.
So who are the clear winners and losers from this situation? Kurds in general are the obvious winner. Currently there are over 40 million Kurds living in 5 countries. That makes them the biggest minority without a country of their own.
That is beginning to change now. Kurds in Iraq and Syria have already de facto started their autonomies states – almost 8 million Kurds.
However, there are still over 15 million Kurds in Turkey’s eastern parts and there is a civil war raging there currently. Of course, the war is not covered by the MSM, because Turkey is a Western ally. Turks are by far the biggest losers from this situation, as Kurdish oil is transported to the western markets by the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.
The pipeline goes almost in its entirety through regions dominated by the Kurds. And as Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan are already de facto sovereign nations, Turkey seems to be next to follow the list as countries who will lose territory to the Kurds, who have been oppressed for decades.
With its massive oil production and with military forces such as Peshmerga (250,000 fighters), YPG (50,000) and PKK (40,000) it seems like that the formation of united Kurdistan is inevitable. If all the Kurds formed a country it is estimated that it would have GDP of over $150 billion. They have the numbers (over 350,000 fighters), they have the experience (they have fought oppressors for decades), the economy and the finance to provide for their people so it seems that it’s only a matter of time before we see a united Kurdistan with territories in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and potentially even Iran.