Oct 31 2013
By Shaymaa Adel
Azzaman, October 31, 2013
Iraq’s Oil Ministry says reports that Kurds were utilizing the spare capacity in its twin pipeline via Turkey to ship their own oil to international markets are not true.
“We are not aware of any illegal linkage by Iraqi Kurdistan with the pipeline carrying Iraqi crude via Turkey to terminals on the Mediterranean,” the ministry’s spokesperson Asem Jihad said.
Jihad reiterated that any deals by Iraqi Kurdistan with the outside world concerning natural resources including oil exports were illegal.
Jihad’s remarks come following press reports that Kurds were building a line that would link to the existing Kirkuk-Ceyhan export pipeline, utilizing its spare capacity.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami had told a news conference in Ankara that the construction of the line was underway but he did not make clear whether the Kurds had started shipping oil through it.
Hawrami gave a rosy picture of Kurdish region’s oil industry, saying output would boost to 400,000 barrels per day by the end of the year from the current 300,000.
He claimed the regional government was building a separate pipeline to carry Kurdish crude to international markets via Turkey. The line to be completed in two years will carry at least 1 million barrels, he added.
But Jihad advised the Kurds not to take any unilateral steps regarding their oil riches and urged them “to enter into a dialogue with the central government in Baghdad to solve all outstanding issues, placing national interests above all other benefits.”
Iraqi Kurdistan region’s domestic needs for oil are growing and are currently estimated at more than 100,000 barrels a day.
Hawrami said the region hoped to ultimately produce 3 million barrels a day. However, he did not say how and when.
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