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KRG misses deadline to end gas flaring

Payment delays to oil companies and bureaucratic disarray have kept the KRG from meeting its own ambitious target for ending the wasteful and polluting practice at several fields.
A flare burns at the Taq Taq oil field in 2016. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report)

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has failed to meet its own deadline to end gas flaring at several oil fields, as progress has been slowed by late payments to oil companies and bureaucratic delays.

In July 2021, then-KRG Minister of Natural Resources Kamal Atroshi wrote to field operators, ordering them "with immediate effect" to start capturing and processing the associated gas that is produced along with crude oil. Many producing fields burn associated gas in an economically wasteful and environmental ruinous practice known as flaring, which Atroahi said is "strictly prohibited" under the KRG's standard production sharing contracts, ordering that it "shall be phased out ASAP."

While the KRG and many of its international oil company (IOC) partners have taken steps toward ending gas flaring, the MNR's 18-month deadline has proven unrealistic.

“We have a Kurdish proverb that says, 'Raising a big stone is a sign of not intending to throw it,'" said an industry official. "Setting that unrealistic plan, timeline-wise, from the beginning, was a sign of not implementing it.”

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