Iraq to raise flows on Turkey pipeline to 150,000 bpd next week
Pumping resumed after new oil minister in Baghdad expressed optimism on the day of his appointment that the problem with Kurds could be resolved
Iraq plans to double the volume of crude it pumps via a pipeline to Turkey to its normal rate of 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) next week, an official at state-run North Oil Company said on Friday.
The company, which reports to the oil ministry in Baghdad, on Thursday resumed pumping oil from fields it operates in Kirkuk via the pipeline, which is controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq.
The KRG-built pipeline runs from the Taq Taq oilfield via Khurmala to Fish Khabur on the border where it connects with the main Kirkuk-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline which runs to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
The company stopped using the pipeline in March due to a dispute between Baghdad and the KRG over the control of Kurdish oil exports.
Pumping resumed after the new oil minister in Baghdad, Jabar Ali al-Luaibi, expressed optimism on the day of his appointment on Monday that the problem with the Kurds could be resolved.
Flows began at a rate of about 70,000 bpd on Thursday for testing purposes and will be increased gradually to reach the normal level of 150,000 bpd, the company official said.
The pipeline carries crude to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, where the Kurds have been selling it independently on the international market, along with oil produced in their own, autonomous region.
Kurdish forces took control of long-disputed Kirkuk and its oilfields in June 2014 after the Iraqi army's northern divisions disintegrated in the face of Islamic State's advance.