Turkey to meet KRG’s fuel demand amid oil crisis: Minister
AA PhotoTurkey will meet northern Iraq’s additional 4,000 tons of processed oil demand, the Turkish energy minister has said, but warned of border gate restraints amid fuel scarcity in the region after the shutdown of Iraq’s biggest refinery.
Turkey currently ships 9,000 tons of fuel to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq and an additional 4,000 tons have been demanded, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said, answering reporters’ question at the Bosporus Energy Club meeting on June 27.
“Can we meet this? Of course we can … Will it be possible for all of the order to pass through Habur border gate? We definitely must ramp up this gate’s capacity,” the minister said.
The shutdown of Beiji refinery, which has been the scene of fierce fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, has led to a vast oil crisis in the autonomous Kurdish region in the country.
The minister had previously said Turkey’s state-owned petroleum company TÜPRAŞ had the capacity to respond to these demands, though the transportation would cause long queues of tankers at the Habur border gate, which has a limited capacity.
Yıldız said this issue came to the agenda during KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani’s visit to Ankara on June 26 as well.
The crisis began shortly after Sunni militants, led by jihadists from ISIL, launched a lightning offensive that has overrun major parts of five Iraqi provinces.
As the militants advanced, supply routes were cut and fighting led to a shutdown of the country’s largest oil refinery near the town of Beiji, south of the militant-held city of Mosul.
Many stations have shut down after running out of supplies, blocking entrances and exits with plastic chairs to keep out hopeful customers.
At petrol stations across the three provinces of the northern region, but particularly in and around the city of Dohuk and the Kurdish regional capital Arbil, lines extend for hours, sometimes even days, Agence France-Presse reported.