Iraq plans oil pipeline network to cover all its territory
BAGHDAD - Reuters
Iraq plans to build a pipeline network to carry oil products across all its territory as an alternative to expensive and hazardous transport by tanker truck, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Dec. 16.
The network is part of a “strategic” plan for oil transportation that includes pipelines to deliver crude and oil products to neighboring countries, he said.
The only crude pipeline now in operation in Iraq links the northern, semi-autonomous Kurdish region to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
All other crude pipelines were shut down or destroyed in the past 35 years as a result of wars and conflicts. iRAQ, OPEC’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia, once had an extensive network of pipelines to export its crude.
One of them carried Iraqi oil across Syria to Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast, another to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, largely bypassing the Kurdish region, and one to the Red Sea across Saudi Arabia.
Iraq earlier this month announced plans to build a crude pipeline to fellow OPEC member Iran.
Egypt’s Zohr starts production
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Zohr natural gas field, the largest in the Mediterranean, began production on Dec. 16, the oil ministry said in a statement.
The field operated by the Italian ENI company is estimated to hold 850 billion cubic metres of gas.
“With the completion of the initial phase for this project planned for June 2018 production will gradually reach more than a billion cubic feet a day,” oil minister Tarek al-Molla said in the ministry statement.
ENI had discovered the field in 2015 in a windfall for the North African country which has had to import fuel to feed its growing demands.