The Kurdistan Region exports its own oil via Turkey’s Ceyhan port. Photo: Farzin Hassan/Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq has plans to reopen the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline to Turkey which will bypass the pipeline used by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), posing threats of increasing economic sanctions in the wake of Kurdistan’s referendum for independence.
Jabar al-Luaibi, Iraq’s oil minister, announced on Tuesday preparations to begin the process of restoring and reopening the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.
The federally-controlled Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline was destroyed by militants in 2014, prior to ISIS capturing territory that the pipeline ran through. The pipeline passes through Salahaddin and Nineveh provinces.
Rehabilitation of the pipeline can begin now that the area has been cleared of “terrorist gangs,” the Oil Ministry stated.
Baghdad’s Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline would need much restoration after a series of attacks and over two years lying in a state of disrepair, leaving analysts skeptical on how fast the repairs could be completed, as reported Tuesday by The Financial Times.
The pipeline would also have to pass through territory controlled by Kurdistan in order to reach Turkey’s border, which could cause further tensions between Baghdad and Erbil.
The Oil Ministry stated they hope to restore and possibly expand exports through the pipeline, which had been 250 to 400 thousand barrels per day.
The Kurdistan Region exports oil through its own pipeline to Turkey’s Ceyhan port.
Following Kurdistan’s independence vote, Baghdad has taken steps to bring oil exports under federal authority, calling on nations to deal exclusively with the central government on oil.
Minister Luaibi met with the Turkish ambassador to Iraq, Fatih Yildiz, and discussed development of bilateral relations, particularly in the oil and energy fields, according to a statement from the Oil Ministry on Tuesday.
Yildiz told Luaibi that Turkey would limit its oil business to the Iraqi government and that the Turkish petroleum company TPAO would soon resume activities at Mansuriya gas field in Diyala province.
Iraq is also in the final stages of talks with Exxon Mobil about development projects in southern Iraq, the ministry stated on Monday.