The people of the rich city of Kurdistan are dissatisfied; they are the poorest with the most oil

18-08-2021 02:54
Employees work at the Tawke oil field in Zakho district, May 31, 2009. (AP Photo)


Many oils and refineries have given Sardar Khalid nothing but smoke and pollution of the city's environment, even cutting off his working job.

Sardar is a resident of the central city of Duhok, where more than half of the Kurdistan region's oil is produced, but is ranked first in the poorest city.

"The People of Duhok know that their environment is polluted by oil production and refineries, without benefiting from it, neither in income nor in jobs, because oil sector workers are foreigners, not the city's people," Sardar said, who spoke to the PEREGRAF in the Duhok bazar.

He wanted to talk more about his sorrows, because of the unemployed and the poor living conditions of the people, "Citizens only get the oil smoke, and we are deprived of services and jobs, not just the poorest city," said Sardar Khalid.

According to official statistics from, The Minister of Natural Resources, Kamal Atrushi, announced at a parliamentary session in Kurdistan in June this year that 52 to 54 percent of oil production in the Kurdistan Region is in The Duhok province.

After Duhok, Erbil has the highest oil production of 40 percent, then Sulaimaniyah comes 6 to 10 percent.

Accordingly, from 450,000 barrels of crude oil are produced daily in the Kurdistan Region, nearly 250,000 barrels of them produced in Duhok.

"What is the benefit of Duhok oil, what is the benefit of having all these oils, the regional government they think we don’t deserve one barrel of oil, so how do they make people benefit from oil revenues?" said Mohammed Shvan, 24 years.

"Only smoke is for the people," said Mohammed, an unemployed young man from Duhok, sometimes a restaurant or construction tenant. "He doesn't get a job for a while."

"Duhok has been sacrificed twice," he said, referring to the large number of refugees and refugees in Duhok, "at a time when the city itself is facing a crisis, so the government demands that at least 1 percent of the income of an oil be spent on Duhok so that young people won’t be unemployed and with that cost, as he says, "Duhok will become the richest city".

According to reports from the Kurdistan Regional Statistics Board, Duhok province is the poorest city in the Kurdistan Region, with a poverty rate of 8.6 percent, followed by a poverty rate in Erbil, 6.7 percent and 4.46 percent in Sulaimaniyah.

"Due to the lack of system and injustice in the distribution of oil revenues in Kurdistan region, oil has not become a welfare reason for the citizens of Dhok and Kurdistan region," said D. Hashim Zebari, an economic expert in Duhok for PEREGRAF.

He explained that more than 130,000 barrels of oil are produced daily in two Tawke and Peshkabir oil wells in Zakho district, and more than 45,000 barrels are produced daily in Sheikhan district and more than 45,000 barrels of oil are produced daily in Sarsang and Chamanke districts of Amedi district.

"But all of this has not been a reason for the welfare of Duhok citizens, even the services of roads are not good, all because of corruption and oil has not been bought institutionally," Zebari said.

Duhok province, bordering Turkey and Syria, has two official border crossings, consisting of seven districts and 31 districts, with a population of more than one million and 300,000 people according to the statistics.

"Oil revenues are treated centrally and there is no transparency and the country's income does not return fairly to the citizens," said Sherko Jawdat, a member of the Kurdistan Parliament's Natural Resources Committee.

"The Kurdistan Box Law for Oil and Gas Revenues contains a clause that talks about the implementation of petrodollars at the district level, meaning that districts with oil and gas activity will be given some of their income to the district, as "The law has not been implemented and the Kurdistan Fund is not set up for oil and gas revenues, which was passed in the Kurdistan Parliament from 10-5-2015," Sherko Jawdat told the PEREGRAF.

The parliamentarian points out that if the BOX law for revenue fund law had been implemented, Duhok and all the other places would have benefited from the natural income of their areas.

The ninth cabinet of the regional government, led by Masrour Barzani, who has been in work for two years, has raised the slogan of general reform, and has stepped into the oil sector, but has not yet been approved by opposition parties and critics.

Oil archive in the Kurdistan Region has been exported to global markets since 2014, and has been critical of the people and opposition parties in the Kurdistan Parliament, particularly the uncertainty over spending oil revenues and the large profits of companies working in the sector.

"According to the contracts with oil companies, unfortunately, 14 percent of the region's oil revenues go into the pockets of the companies and we can't get it," said Kamal Atrushi, minister of natural resources, in a meeting in Kurdistan’s parliament.

"What I can do is to reset the cost of oil production and implement a service project for oil production areas with companies," the minister of natural resources said.

The region's oil exports, which are going through four stages, are the first phase is producing the oil, the second phase of pipeline transportation within the region's soil, the third phase of pipeline transfer from Turkish soil to the port of Jayhan in that country, and then the fourth phase of oil sales.

Omid Sabah, President of the Diwan of Council of Ministers, discusses how oil sales have been in charge of a private sector company since May this year and the government is running it.

"The oil money account, which was also named by the private company sector, is now under the name of the government, and the five companies that have signed oil sales with them will be reviewed and two of those contracts have been completed," Omid Sabah said in a meeting of the Kurdistan Parliament. 

"58 percent of oil revenue goes to the cost of producing, transporting and selling oil, and only 42 percent will remain for the regional government," said the President of the Diwan of Council of Ministers. "14 percent of the income goes to oil production companies, 11 percent of the income goes to the pipeline in the region's soil, 6 percent for the pipe sink in The Turkish soil."

Kurdistan Region, apart from a 50 - year agreement with Turkey to transport oil through the country's land , there is also other agreement with The Rosneft Company , which is a huge company . It is working in Kurdistan region's oil and natural gas, developing fields and raising production levels, strengthening the region's economic infrastructure, expanding the region's oil transport capability and establishing pipes for natural gas transport.