Oil flow via Iraq to Turkey begins

Ankara, Jan 3: Crude oil flow from northern Iraq to Turkey started via a new pipeline Thursday, the Turkish government announced.

The oil started to accumulate at the Turkish Mediterranean export hub of Ceyhan but will not be shipped to world markets without the consent of Iraqi government, Xinhua quoted Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz as saying.

Stating that oil flow through the pipeline would start at 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) and rise to 400,000, the minister expressed hope that a deal with Baghdad could be reached this month for exports.

Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan regional government signed six energy contracts last month on exploration and purchase of hydrocarbon resources.

Following Nechirvan’s visit, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said that Ankara and Arbil had “agreed on some commercial deals” but had yet to finalise them and that Turkey would seek Baghdad’s cooperation on the issue.

The agreement irked officials in Baghdad, which claims sole authority to manage Iraqi oil. Baghdad said Iraqi Kurds’ efforts towards oil independence could lead to the break-up of Iraq.

The Turkish energy minister paid a visit to Baghdad in December to brief the officials on the deals.

In response to Baghdad’s concerns, Turkey has proposed a formula to both parties under which oil and gas money will be tied up at a Turkish state bank in line with the agreed share of 83 percent to the Iraqi central government and 17 percent to the Kurds.

Ankara has set up the Turkish Energy Company (TEC), a state- backed entity, which will be Turkey’s counter party in dealings with Iraqi Kurds.

IANS