ENERGY > Turkey snubs Baghdad on Arbil ‘illegal’ oil exporting

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

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A worker is seen at the Najaf Oil Refinery, 130 kilometers south of Baghdad, Iraq. The central Iraqi government claims all fuel exports should go from Baghdad. AP photo

A worker is seen at the Najaf Oil Refinery, 130 kilometers south of Baghdad, Iraq. The central Iraqi government claims all fuel exports should go from Baghdad. AP photo

Turkey has dismissed demands by Baghdad that it cease accepting the “illegal” transfers of crude oil from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in the country’s north, saying such trade was legal.

“If there was a legal problem, we would not start exporting,” the Turkish official said. “Turkey must stop the unauthorized export of oil through its land,” Iraqi spokesman Ali Dabbagh said in an emailed statement. “Exporting oil from the Kurdistan region to Turkey is illegal.”

The remarks were the latest sign of cooling ties between Ankara and Baghdad, as well as between Baghdad and Arbil. He warned that Turkey was contributing to the “smuggling of Iraqi oil” and said, “This matter will affect ties between the two countries, especially economic relations, which will be damaged.”

The oil and gas is the property of all Iraqis and it must be exported by, and its revenues go to, the federal government, “which represents all Iraqis,” spokesman Dabbagh said.

Ankara and Arbil admitted the beginning of such trade last week.

“The main issue here is the fact that both the Iraqi central government and the Iraqi Kurdish regional administration need these revenues,” Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said last week, adding that the trade did not violate the law. “We are conducting operations [with Baghdad and Arbil] similar to those we conduct with all neighboring countries in order to meet demand.”

Private firm buys crude

This trade was being conducted by the private sector, Yıldız also said, referring to oil refiner Tüpraş.
The refiner has been struggling to import Iranian oil this month because of Western sanctions on ship insurance, Reuters quoted trading and shipping sources as saying last week. Yıldız, however, said Turkey was facing no problems there.

Agence France-Presse quoted a Kurdish official earlier this month as saying that the KRG had begun sending oil produced in its three-province region out of Iraq without the express permission of the central government. “We started exporting limited quantities of crude oil to Turkey a few days ago,” Seerwan Abubaqr, an adviser to the KRG’s natural resources ministry, told AFP.
He said the crude was being exported to Turkey so it could be refined into various products
before being brought back to northern Iraq.

“If we need to, we will export oil to Iran,” Abubaqr added. “We will continue exports of crude oil until the central government provides the region with oil products. The central government has pushed us to do this.”

The latest rift adds to the tension between Baghdad and Ankara, which also includes a political dispute over Turkey’s refusal to extradite fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who is currently on trial in absentia on charges that he ran a death squad.

However, Turkey’s Energy Ministry has started technical work with Baghdad on shipping crude oil from Basra in southern Iraq via the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and on to world markets. “The primary goal is to increase the capacity of the Kirkuk-Yumurtalık crude oil pipeline, and we have extended the agreement for 15 years,” Yıldız said July 6.


BAGHDAD – Agence France-Presse

Iraq initialled a gas exploration deal with Pakistan Petroleum yesterday, a senior official said, the first of three successive contracts aimed at increasing the country’s oil and gas reserves.“ We are now initialling a contract between the Iraqi oil ministry and Pakistan Petroleum,” said Abdul Mehdi al-Amidi, the head of the ministry’s contracts and licensing department.


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Notice on comments

The Lion

7/16/2012 6:21:17 PM

Murat, good point. If the US is opposed to Turkiye killing PKK terrorists in Northern Iraq, then this is a good course of action till they come to their senses. Making profit off of Northern Iraq and increasing tension between the Shi'ite Iraqi regime and kurds in Northern Iraq is a good stopgap strategy. The ideal situation is where they come to blows weakening each other and leaving the place in shambles disheartening the US enough that it abandons its imperialist enterprise there altogethe

The Lion

7/16/2012 6:14:08 PM

JRC JRC, give it a break. The US neoconservative movement, which you always defend, are masters of those traits you consider negative. Maybe someday we'll see you direct your criticism towards them where its needed. By the way, your neoconservative overlords and the Zionists who, in turn, rule them are the biggest supporters of kurdish terrorists so Turkiye doing business with Northern Iraq is welcomed by them.


7/16/2012 5:39:37 PM

An internal Iraqi matter at this point. Turkey is not in a position to make a distinction. Oil comes out of an Iraqi pipe. Period. Iraqi government has the chocie to exert control over the pipeline. Same way TRNC has the legal right and authroity to exert control over their airspace and waters. Some people can not just think straight it seems.

US Observer

7/16/2012 4:42:21 PM

Turkey is making healdlines here in the States with undermining sanctions on Iran and buying oil with Gold. The article pointed to close relationships and Turkeys move toward more extremist governments, etc. Nothing good. Anyway, the day we have an energy source that takes it away from that region cannot come soon enough.


7/16/2012 12:12:47 PM

@rich blind. Opposing stances are Turkey's Modus Operandi, which anyone wanting to do business here must first learn. This along with constantly changing the rules of any negotiation without notice, are the two most important elements business people must get to grips with. It's called Bazaar Business.

rich bind

7/16/2012 8:30:59 AM

Good example of talking out of both sides of your mouth. turkey accepts and encourages export of oil from the Kurdish section of Iraq, which Iraq claims belongs to the entire nation. At the same time, Turkey is blustering to start a war over the sale of gas from the off-shore ecconomic zone of the Republic of Cyprus, which they claim can not happen without the permission of Turkish Cyprus (an entity only Turkey recognizes). So when it profits Turkey its legal.
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