11 March 2015, News Wires – Crude flows along Iraqi Kurdistan’s independent pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan have been halted since Monday for repairs due to damage caused by theft, according to a report.
An official with Turkey’s state pipeline operator Botas said the pipeline, which carries both Iraqi crude from Kirkuk oilfields and Kurdish supplies for tanker export from Ceyhan, could reopen on Wednesday as repairs would take one to two days.
He confirmed to Reuters the repairs were required due to theft.
A source said there had been an increase in crude theft on the Turkish side of the pipeline, around the south-eastern province of Sanliurfa bordering Syria.
“That’s why we have seen pumping halted fairly frequently recently,” he said.
Throughput on the pipeline recently averaged around 450,000 barrels per day and at times rose as high as 500,000 bpd, according to the source.
A shipping source said pumping of oil had “stopped due to a technical problem”, adding that several tankers were waiting offshore.
Iraqi oil exports via a federal-controlled pipeline to Ceyhan from the Kirkuk fields in northern Iraq were halted for months last year after the route came under attack from Islamic State militants.
Iraq’s state oil marketer Somo resumed exports via Ceyhan late last year through the Kurdish-built pipeline after the Baghdad government struck a deal with the autonomous region in December.
Under the deal, Kurds committed to export an average of 550,000 bpd of crude for Somo – 250,000 bpd from Kurdistan-controlled fields and 300,000 bpd from Kirkuk – in return for the reinstatement of budget payments of about $1 billion per month.
Loading data from Ceyhan on Monday showed exports from northern Iraq are set to reach 400,000 bpd for the first time since the agreement was struck, from an average of 350,000 bpd over the past week and some 275,000 to 300,000 bpd in January and February.