Iraqi pipeline ‘unusable’

Pipeline fire in Ibadan, Pix by Dare Fasuba21 April 2014, News Wires – An oil pipeline carrying crude from Iraq’s Kirkuk oilfields to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan is “unusable” because of persistent militant attacks, Turkey’s energy minister was reported as saying on Monday.

The key export pipeline has been pumping way below its 1.5 million barrels per day of capacity, while Kurdistan has been sending crude through a new independent route from the semi-autonomous Iraqi region to the Turkish port.

“The pipeline on the Iraqi side is in unusable shape. This is a loss for Iraq,” Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The volume of crude stored in tanks at Ceyhan that has been shipped from Kurdistan via the new pipeline has now reached 1.5 million barrels, according to Yildiz.

He said exports should start once the storage tanks are full, although Iraq has yet to reach an agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on independent exports from the region.

“We would be in a position to send this oil to the world markets once the tanks are full. We can’t keep this in tanks,” Yildiz said.

Turkey has allocated three storage tanks at Ceyhan with a total capacity of 2.5 million barrels for oil coming from the KRG’s pipeline, where oil started to flow last December.

There is unlikely to be a breakthrough in the current impasse between Erbil and Baghdad over exports – part of a wider dispute over oil revenue sharing and resource sovereignty – before Iraqi elections due on 30 April, according to Turkish officials.


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