ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The federal government of Iraq has restarted exports of Kirkuk oil to Turkey through the Kurdistan Region after a year of disruption following the Kurdish referendum on independence in 2017, Iraq’s Ministry of oil confirmed on Friday.
“The federal government and the Kurdistan Region reached an agreement in principle to resume the export of oil from the fields of Kirkuk via the pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan,” the spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, Asim Jihad, said in a statement.
Jihad mentioned that 50,000 – 100,000 oil barrels per day will be exported through the Kurdistan Region’s pipeline to Turkey.
“The Iraqi oil marketing company (SOMO) will be in charge of the export and marketing of this quantity,” he added.
The agreement comes weeks after intense negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad, with pressure from western countries, for both sides to resolve outstanding disputes and help address a shortage of Iranian crude in the region after the US imposed sanctions on Tehran.
The deal indicates that the Prime Minister of Iraq, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, and Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban are ready to work with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) despite previous tensions following the Sep. 25 referendum of last year.
The export of Kirkuk oil to Turkey halted in Oct. 2017 after Iraqi forces and Shia militias took control of the oil-rich province. It stopped the flow of 300,000 bpd to Turkey, resulting in a loss of revenue totaling some $8 billion over the past year.
Kirkuk is one of the biggest and oldest oilfields in the Middle East, estimated to have 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil. The province is one of the disputed territories claimed by both the KRG and the federal government of Iraq.
Editing by Nadia Riva