ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq plans to build a new pipeline to transport crude oil from the disputed province of Kirkuk to Turkey, Iraq’s oil minister said on Wednesday.
Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadhban made the remarks in a press conference following meetings between Fatih Dönmez, Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, his Iraqi counterpart, and several other officials.
Ghadhban said Wednesday’s meeting was a follow-up to Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s meeting and agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey earlier this year.
“The meeting focused on strengthening ties between the two countries and developing economic and trade connections, especially in the energy sector with gas, oil, and electricity,” he added.
In his announcement, the oil minister also mentioned Iraq’s intention to build a new pipeline to transfer crude oil from Kirkuk to the borders of Turkey.
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 the so-called Islamic State targeted it.
“We discussed many areas of cooperation including a possible electricity connection between the two countries,” Ghadhban stated.
The minister also emphasized the strategic importance of the pipeline, which could become an alternative after “regional developments threatened the current oil transportation path through the Gulf.”
The new pipeline is set to go through the Kurdistan Region parallel with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) pipeline that is currently being used to transport oil from Kirkuk to Turkey’s Ceyhan port.
On Nov. 16, 2018, the Federal Government of Iraq restarted exports of Kirkuk oil to Turkey through the Kurdistan Region’s oil pipeline at a rate of around 50,000 bpd.
Iraq is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) second-largest producer just after Saudi Arabia and currently has an output below its maximum capacity of nearly five million bpd.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany