Iraq to Resume Oil Exports to Turkey



Last month Turkey stopped the flow from Kurdistan through the one operational Kurdish pipeline following objections by Baghdad.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq will resume crude exports through a pipeline to Turkey within days, the Iraqi oil minister said, as Erbil and Baghdad try to resolve a serious dispute over energy exports.

“We are trying to resolve these problems. I believe the flow will resume within a week,” Abdul Kareem Luaibi announced at the Turkish International Oil and Gas conference in Ankara.

Energy experts say that in early March Iraq stopped exports through its Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, which has suffered many insurgent attacks and technical problems and is frequently under repair.

Last month, Turkey also stopped the flow from Kurdistan through the one operational Kurdish pipeline, following objections by Baghdad, which has consistently opposed direct oil sales by the autonomous Kurds.

The Kurds began exporting their own oil to Turkey early this year, before hitting a brick wall with Baghdad. Erbil wants to manage the exports and revenues itself, but the central government insists it must be in charge.

In order to pressure Erbil, Baghdad cut off payments from the national budget, placing a serious strain on the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) ability to pay the salaries of civil servants for two months.

Ankara has said it prefers to win Baghdad’s approval before the separate Kurdish oil exports can resume, and the KRG said last month it would inject 100,000 bpd into the pipeline controlled by the central government, as a goodwill gesture to resolve the row with Baghdad.

US mediators have for weeks been trying to bring the parties closer together.

Turkey is interested in Kurdish oil to help diversify energy supplies from Russia and Iran and reduce a burgeoning $60 billion energy bill.

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