Perspectives of an Independent Energy Export Policy of Iraqi Kurdistan
This chapter explores the prospects for an independent energy export policy of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq and, therefore, deals with the question of how sustained profitability, legitimacy and stability can be ensured. After making an inventory of the current situation and portraying the oil dispute between Erbil and Baghdad, energy policy goals, strategies and cooperation are presented, as well as challenges and opportunities are critically examined. In the context of the referendum for independence and substantial dependence on revenues from oil exports, this article investigates the economic, legal, political and security challenges such as the resistance from the central government in Iraq, the freeze of budget payments to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the fall in oil prices, the inflated state apparatus and attacks on the pipeline infrastructure. The long-term profitability, legitimacy, and stability of the Kurdish strategy will depend, among other things, on production and capacity increases on the one hand and building good governance structures and strengthening internal democratic development on the other hand. A successful energy export policy would have important effects on the political economy of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq and the de facto and aspired de jure independence respectively.