Turkey says Iraqi oil deliveries total 47 million barrels, worth $3 billion
AP PhotoTurkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said on March 26 oil deliveries from Iraq via Turkey since the beginning of last year have now totaled some 47 million barrels, worth about $3 billion.
To date, 57 tankers with loaded crude have shipped to Turkey from Iraq, Yıldız told reporters at a news conference, as quoted by Reuters.
Most of the oil comes from Kurdish-run fields in northern Iraq, but Baghdad has also used the infrastructure in recent months to ship crude to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
The latest Arbil-Baghdad oil agreement requires the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq to export 550 million barrels per day (bdp) from Kirkuk and oilfields in the Kurdistan region to Ceyhan. When the oil arrives at the port in Turkey it is handed over to the Baghdad-based State Organization for Marketing of Oil (SOMO).
“We give the Iraqi government only 425,000 bpd at the Ceyhan port,” KRG resources minister Ashti Hawrami, told Rudaw in an exclusive interview last week.
Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said Baghdad will make a budget payment to Kurdish authorities very soon, playing down concerns that an oil export deal which helped thaw bilateral relations could collapse.
He told Reuters in an interview on March 18 the delay in what is meant to be a monthly transfer of over $1 billion from Baghdad in exchange for oil from the region was due to a fiscal crisis rather than political factors.
He said both sides were still committed to the deal though he declined to reveal the size of the forthcoming payment.
Yıldız also said the first Turkish-made seismic-survey vessel, Turkuaz, is to be launched this weekend in Istanbul.
He said the new vessel, worth 300 million Turkish Liras ($115 million), was of great importance for the country’s economic and political interests.
“The vessel will increase our gas and oil potential in the region by searching our seas for potential mining areas,” Yıldız said.
In addition to searching for oil and gas, Turkuaz will also conduct climate change and ecologic research under the state-owned Mineral Research and Exploration General Directorate. With its remote-controlled system, it will perform comprehensive underwater search activities.
Turkuaz, measuring 86 meters long and 23 meters wide, will serve for at least 30 years with a 50-person crew. It has the capacity to continuously operate for 35 days away from land.