Iraq invites energy companies for building new Kirkuk export pipeline
BAGHDAD-The Associated Press
Iraq on Dec. 24 invited companies to submit statements of interest in building a new pipeline from the northern city of Kirkuk to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
The new 350-kilometer (220-mile) pipeline will carry up to one million barrels a day, the state-run Oil Projects Company said. A 305-kilometer (190-mile) gas pipeline to feed pumping stations, tanks and other service installations will be included in the project, it said.
The new line will be built alongside an existing 1.6 million barrel-per-day pipeline, which runs through restive Sunni areas and has been idle since it was badly damaged by militant attacks in 2014.
Iraqi forces drove the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group from the area earlier this year, but the militants are expected to continue to launch insurgent-style attacks.
Interested companies have until Jan. 24 to submit applications for pre-qualification before receiving the final tender documents. Authorities did not provide a timeline for the project, which will be offered under a build-own-operate-transfer scheme. At least 25 percent of the project will be owned by Iraqi entities.
Iraqi forces seized the disputed city of Kirkuk from Kurdish forces in October. The Kurds, who had taken control of Kirkuk and other disputed areas when IS swept into Iraq three years ago, exported oil through their own pipeline to Turkey.
The fields around Kirkuk currently produce around 140,000 barrels a day, all of which goes to refineries, Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said on Dec. 24.
Iraq has the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves. This year, it added 10 billion barrels, bringing its total reserves up to 153.1 billion barrels.
Oil and other infrastructure suffered widespread damage during the fighting against ISIL. The costs of the war, along with low oil prices, have taken a heavy toll on Iraq’s economy.