Iraq’s Kirkuk region has received a second payment for oil exports from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), according to Kirkuk’s governor, Najmiddin Karim.

“They have paid us for January and February and we are waiting for the next payment,” he said in an exclusive interview with MEED.

On 2 March, Karim announced that the KRG had agreed to deposit $10m a month into a bank account for Kirkuk, roughly the equivalent of one dollar for each barrel exported by the KRG.

The Kirkuk region exports more than 300,000 barrels of oil a day via the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, around half of all north Iraq’s total crude exports.

Between 17 February and 11 March the pipeline saw no exports.

Turkey blamed the disruption to exports on an attack on the pipeline near the city of Urfra.

There are concerns that the KRG will not be able to sustain the payments due to an ongoing financial crisis driven by low oil prices and the high cost of the war with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).

The KRG has had to cut salaries for the public sector, excluding military personnel, by an average of 50 per cent.

Karim says that he believes the KRG is committed to making the monthly $10m payments despite ongoing financial pressures.

“There is a commitment from the prime minister himself, Masoud Barzani, to do everything he can to make sure Kirkuk gets paid,” he said.

The Kirkuk region is a disputed territory that is claimed by both Baghdad and the KRG.

In 2014, the Iraqi army units that were meant to be defending the city fled in the face of advancing Isis militants.

Since mid-2014 Kirkuk has been defended by the Kurdish military, which has taken control of the Iraqi army’s abandoned bases in the area.