Third oil pipeline in line between Turkey and Iraq
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Turkey’s projects have continued in all corners of Iraq, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız has said, implying Ankara is not dicarding ties with Baghdad.Turkey is keen on keeping its energy ties with Baghdad strong despite recently cozying up with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the energy minister has said, noting that Ankara would be willing to build third pipeline from southern Iraq to Turkey with a previous proposal by the Iraqi government.
“In a previous meeting, Iraqi Oil Minister [Abdul Karim] Luaibi indicated that they wanted to develop a ‘joint’ project with Turkey. We expressed our readiness for a pipeline that would extend from Basra to the north and Ceyhan. We will begin the project when our Iraqi brethren are ready,” Turkish Economy Minister Taner Yıldız said in a written statement released March 31.
The pipeline between southern Iraqi province of Basra and Turkish province Ceyhan, would be third after already operating two Kirkuk–Ceyhan oil pipelines.
Composed of two different routes 970 km long pipeline that carries crude oil from Kirkuk to southern Turkish province Yumurtallik, is also Iraq’s largest crude oil export line.
“Turkey’s projects have continued in all corners of Iraq,” Yıldız said.
“We have spent $600 million with our partners in the natural gas and oil fields in the south [of Iraq]. Our projects in these regions are continuing,” Yıldız said.
Yıldız had already said on last June both parties agreed in principle for a 1,200 km Basra-Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline and he believes realizing joint intersts would leave ongoing problems of two countries behind.
Relations between Turkey and the central Iraqi government have plummeted due to the former’s energy ties with the KRG, as well as due to plans to build an oil export pipeline between northern Iraq and Turkey despite Baghdad and the United States’ objections.
Baghdad says it alone has the authority to conduct exports and sign contracts, while the KRG say its right to do so is enshrined in Iraq’s federal Constitution.
Turkey and KRG has initiated the process on an energy deal including to build a pipeline, as the KRG Prime Minister Neçirvan Barzani said last week during his visit to Turkey.