Iraq to raise Kirkuk oil export to Turkey’s Ceyhan port
The Iraqi prime minister has said Baghdad would increase oil export from fields in the northern province of Kirkuk to a Turkey’s southern port.
In a weekly news conference on Nov. 21, Adil Abdul-Mahdi told reporters plans were underway to increase the export of current daily 60,000 barrels to 100,000.
He added that ties were amiable between his administration and the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), from where the oil would be transported to Turkey’s Ceyhan seaport on the Mediterranean coast.
Relations between the Iraqi government and the KRG had been strained since September 2017, when the latter held an unconstitutional referendum on Kurdish regional independence.
Baghdad responded to the poll, which was also named illegitimate by Ankara, by imposing a broad range of sanctions on the Arbil-based KRG.
In the wake of last year’s referendum, federal forces also seized control of all parts of Iraq “disputed” between Baghdad and Arbil, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.
Oil extraction and pumping from Iraq’s northern Kirkuk province was suspended in October 2017 until Nov. 16, 2018, when Iraq’s federal government and the KRG reached a tentative agreement to resume oil exports from Kirkuk to Ceyhan.
Iraq began piping oil from its fields around Kirkuk on Nov. 16, more than a year after exports were halted.
The Turkey pipeline is the only one available to Kirkuk for exports. It runs through the KRG territory.
Revenues from the resumed sales will go to the federal government, said Iraqi Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad on Nov. 16.
Iraq used to export 300,000 barrels of oil daily from Kirkuk when the city was under the KRG. The takeover was a blow to the region’s finances and led to cuts in public sector wages.
But the KRG has since made up for the lost revenues by boosting production from other fields, according to the Iraq Oil Report trade publication.
KRG spokesman Safin Dizayi said on Nov. 15 that salary reductions for public sector employees would be lifted “very soon.”
Iraq exports close to 5 million barrels of crude daily, the vast majority through its southern Basra terminal.