Kurdistan’s Oil and Gas: Curse or Blessing ? - First Annual Symposium

Soran University International Oil Gas Symposium Kurdistan

We are delighted to announce the first annual symposium, ‘Kurdistan’s Oil and Gas: Curse or Blessing ?’ to be held at Soran University, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The symposium will take place at Soran University on the 21stand 22nd April 2014.

All evidence suggests that a resource rich developing nation is most likely to stagnate in its development process, or the discovery of substantial resource deposits could possibly even have a detrimental effect on development. Right now the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq is at a crossroads and faces the challenge of turning its recently discovered oil and gas reserves into a financial motor that enables the blossoming democratisation and nation building process to continue, thus becoming the exception to the rule, or to follow the many examples where resource wealthhas turned into a curse.


Being a young and enthusiastic institution, Soran University is committed to the challenge of finding sustainable solutions for the question of natural resources and to find answers that benefit Kurdish society. While our geologists and petroleum scientists are leading experts in discovering and mapping the region’s oil and gas deposits, we also want to engage in the discussion from a social and geostrategic perspective. The proposed symposium is one stepping stone in developing expertise in this direction, paralleled by the establishment of a research centre with international academic co-operation and partnerships. We intend to use this opportunity to invite a selected expert panel for an open and critical discussion of the challenges that lie ahead.

We are pleased to say that all the international experts on the issue immediately agreed to participate in the symposium. The panel will consist of key experts from academia, the oil industry, as well as representatives from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).Additionally we can announce that the event will be covered by several Kurdish news platforms. For us as a public university it is important to communicate issues relevant toKurdistannot from behind closed doors but publicly. All members of the public are therefore welcome to attend the event in Soran and to use this unique opportunity to address the panel directly.

In the two days of the symposium we want to focus on two streams:
1.    The geostrategic situation the KRG is in, including the issue of being a landlocked nation in a region amidst insecurity and conflict, as well as the nature of a Turkish-KRG partnership.
2.    Possible internal institutional structures that help not only to avoid the ‘curse’ of oil price volatility, but to solidify democratic structures.

The immediate aim of the symposium is to draft a report, addressed to the KRG government, which will include a list of suggestions resulting from this symposium.We plan to repeat the symposium on an annual basis, enabling us to monitor and advise on Kurdish oil policies well into the future.

If you have any queries or require additional information do not hesitate to contact Dr. Till Paasche on behalf of the organizing committee (عنوان البريد الإلكتروني هذا محمي من روبوتات السبام. يجب عليك تفعيل الجافاسكربت لرؤيته.)