Iraqi minister says oil shipments to Turkey include Kirkuk crude
Kurds are currently pumping 300,000 bpd via a Kurdish Regional Government-built pipeline through Turkey
Oil sourced from Kirkuk fields has been shipped through Kurdish-built infrastructure, Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi said on Thursday, as a deal reached with Iraqi Kurds to end a long-running feud over oil revenues is implemented.
After years of a bitter feud, Iraqi Kurds and the central government in Baghdad last week struck a deal in which Kurds agreed to give half - or 150,000 bpd - of their overall oil shipments to the federal government in exchange for Baghdad paying overdue civil servants’ salaries.
Kurds are currently pumping 300,000 bpd via a Kurdish Regional Government-built pipeline through Turkey.
Iraq’s northern export route, the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline controlled by the federal government, has been damaged and segments of it fell under the control of Islamic State militants earlier this year, rendering it unusable.
Many analysts have said the only viable option for Baghdad to sell its oil via the north was to use the Kurdish-built pipeline.
Mahdi said 150,000 bpd included some oil from Kirkuk fields.
“This oil shipment has already started. We have allowed it as a good-will gesture,” he said.
He later added that the bulk of 150,000 bpd was still being sourced from Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk.
Iraq’s oil-rich Kirkuk region is home to several oil domes. Kurds have seized fresh territory in June around Kirkuk after Iraqi government forces fled while fighting militants from Islamic State, an al-Qaeda offshoot which has seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Bai Hassan field and Avana dome have since then been under the control of Kurds, who allocated the production from those regions to refineries for domestic consumption, which in turn allowed them to boost their pumping via Turkey.
A source at Turkey’s pipeline operator Botas said as of this week half of 300,000 bpd has begun flowing into storage tanks at Ceyhan allocated to Iraq’s state-run Oil Marketing Company (SOMO).
Turkey’s sole oil refiner Tupras said on Thursday that it will start buying crude oil sold by SOMO, following the deal between Arbil and Baghdad.
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