An oilfield in Kirkuk. Photo: Rudaw
KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region - The North Oil Company (NOC) has resumed its oil exports to Turkey’s Ceyhan port after they were halted for an hour on Sunday, NOC sources told Rudaw, believing the decision to be political.
An NOC source told Rudaw on Sunday afternoon that the halting of oil exports was only for one hour and it has now resumed.
A separate unnamed source from the NOC had told Rudaw earlier that starting from today upon a decree from Baghdad oil exports from Baba Gurgur, Jambour and Khabaza oil fields under the control of the NOC have been stopped.
He explained there were no technical issues but the decision was more political without elaborating.
He said a halt could damage oilfields by large volumes.
"Some 160,000 barrels of oil were being produced and exported outside through the Kurdistan Region’s pipelines," he said, adding that, "due to the halt, we are forced to once again store the oil underground damaging the fields and even the environment."
Havana and Bi Hassan oilfields, operated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), he said would continue to extract and export oil, an estimated 250,000 bpd on a daily basis.
Currently, Kirkuk’s oil is exported through the KRG’s pipeline to Turkey’s Ceyhan port. Under an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad made last year, half of the revenues of sales of Kirkuk’s oil go to the Kurdistan Region.
Last week Iran and Iraq agreed to strengthen their energy-sector ties, including the possible construction of a pipeline to export Kirkuk’s crude oil to refineries in Iran, possibly from the NOC oilfields.
Patriot Union of Kurdistan (PUK) deployed its Black Force to the Iraqi oil company NOC that runs several oil fields in the province in early March. It resulted in halting oil exports for hours in an effort to force Baghdad to commit to an earlier agreement signed between the local government and Baghdad in January.
NOC is a state company under Iraq’s Ministry of Oil. It operates in oil and gas production in Kirkuk, Nineveh, Erbil, Baghdad, and Diyala provinces as well as in parts of Hilla and Kut.
Days after the deployment, Kurdish parties in Kirkuk showed unanimous support for the implementation of the agreement which includes more investment in the oil sector in Kirkuk and employment opportunities for the local people.
According to an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad signed in August 2016 between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Iraqi Premier Haider al-Abadi, the KRG sells half of the oil being exported from the NOC to Turkey’s Ceyhan Port and Baghdad sells a similar proportion.