Dec 26 2012
By Shaymaa Adel
Azzaman, December 26, 2012
A threat by Iraqi Kurds to disrupt Iraqi oil exports via Turkey has raised grave concerns in the capital Baghdad.
The Kurds are reported to have stopped shipping oil produced in their autonomous region via a subsidiary pipeline linked to the strategic twin pipeline that carries Iraqi crude exports to terminals in Turkey.
The stoppage, Kurds say, is because the Iraqi Oil Ministry has stopped paying foreign oil firms developing oil fields in their region.
Under a former agreement, the government in Baghdad had agreed to pay the firms in return for allocating oil produced in Kurdish region for exports via Iraqi national pipeline network.
The government blames the Kurds for failure to ship the amounts they promised, totaling more than 100,000 barrels a per day. According to the Oil Ministry the volume had slipped to 60,000 barrels a day prompting the government to stop paying.
The Kurds have threatened to halt exports via the strategic pipeline carrying oil to Turkey unless the government resumes paying the firms.
Iraqi deputies have expressed their anger at the statement, with the parliamentary energy commission describing it as “an escalation.”
“There is an agreement between the federal government (in Baghdad) and the regional government in Arbil to work to put national interests over anything else,” said Ali Dhari, a member of commission.
He said any stoppage of the pipeline that carries around 500,000 barrels of oil via Turkey to international markets “will be detrimental to the interests of the Iraqi people as a whole.”
Dhari even blamed the Kurds for halting the supply of crude oil produced in their region, saying it represented a loss in national income.
Iraqi oil production has been rising and recently it inched over 3 million barrels a day.
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