An Iraqi army vehicle parked at Kirkuk’s Bai Hassan oil field on October 17. Photo: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Tens of thousands of barrels of Kirkuk oil will now be trucked over Iraq's border to Iran daily as part of a swap deal.
Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi announced in a statement on his Facebook page on Friday that there is an initial agreement between Iraq and Iran, negotiated by Iraq's State Organization for Marketing of Oil (SOMO), to export 30,000-60,000 barrels per day to Iran's Kermanshah province.
The exports, which could later be increased, will be trucked to Iran. The deal stipulates that Iraq receives the same amount of oil from Iran through its southern borders.
Iraq exported more than 103,730,650 barrels of oil in October, according to the ministry
. This totaled more than $5.455 billion in revenue.
Tehran and Baghdad have recently furthered economic and trade interests, bilateral relations, and travel ties.
Oil exports from Kirkuk to Turkey's Ceyhan port via the Kurdistan Region’s pipeline were halted by Baghdad on November 1. Baba Gugur, Khabbaza, and Jambour oil fields have been supplying domestic refineries.
Luaibi announced that engineering and technical teams were working on plans to accelerate rehabilitation of parts of Iraq’s pipeline to Turkey in a meeting with Fatih Yildiz, Turkey's Ambassador to Iraq on November 3.
The oil-rich Kirkuk province came under Iraqi federal control in October when Iranian-backed paramilitaries in Iraq and the Iraqi army pushed Kurdish Peshmerga out.
Shortly thereafter, British Petroleum (BP) began to work in Kirkuk's oilfields. BP had tried to operate in Kirkuk in 2003, but stopped after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said operations must be done in coordination with Erbil given the legal status of the province.
According to Iraqi law, Kirkuk remains disputed.