ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Ministry of Oil on Sunday announced it plans to build a new pipeline to transport crude oil from Kirkuk to Turkey’s Ceyhan port.
Oil exports from the disputed province of Kirkuk have been stalled since Iraqi Forces and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias launched an attack on the oil-rich territory.
The main pipeline the Iraqi Government used to transport some 600,000 barrels per day (BPD) from Kirkuk to Ceyhan was rendered inoperable in 2014 after it was targeted by militant groups, notably the Islamic State (IS).
Iraq’s oil minister, Jabar al-Luaibi, ordered companies and departments working with his ministry to prepare the necessary paperwork for the new pipeline which will replace the severely damaged one. It will run from the city of Baiji to Faysh Khabur at the border with Turkey, an area which is still under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The minister had previously instructed the Iraqi-owned North Oil Company (NOC) to establish an “urgent plan” to implement a comprehensive and accelerated rehabilitation plan for the crude oil pipeline network from the Kirkuk fields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The Iraqi Oil Ministry’s spokesperson, Asim Jihad, however, explained that the damages were far too extensive and that repairs would not be possible.
The new pipeline would also be used to bypass the Kurdistan Region who has been running its own pipeline to export oil from the mixed province of Kirkuk since it secured the territory after Iraqi Forces failed to defend the area from IS in 2014.
Since overtaking Kirkuk in October, the Iraqi government claimed it would increase production to one million BPD. The NOC currently exports 60,000 BPD to Turkey while the rest is transferred abroad through southern Iraq.