Iraq says it plans to build a new pipeline to export its crude oil from the northern province of Kirkuk to Turkey scrapping plans to rehabilitate an existing pipeline that was damaged by Daesh.
The announcement was made by Iraq’s Oil Ministry that said in a statement Minister Jabbar al-Luaybi had ordered the related documents to be prepared for the project and would soon invite tenders.
The new pipeline would stretch for around 250 kilometers from the city of Baiji in the province of Salaheddine and would span until the Fish-Khabur border area with Turkey before finally reaching the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
It would replace an old and severely damaged section of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline which Iraq’s Oil Ministry said in a statement was “too damaged by attacks by Daesh terrorist gangs to be rehabilitated”.
Iraq had exported 250,000 to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) through that pipeline before the start of Daesh insurgency halted the supplies.
Kirkuk’s oil was previously being exported via the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) pipeline to Ceyhan.
Exports from oilfields in Kirkuk have been on hold since Iraqi government forces took control of them from the Kurds last month in retaliation for a Kurdish referendum on independence which was widely opposed by Turkey, Iran and Western powers.
Iraqi oil officials accuse Kurdish authorities of not responding to requests made by the oil ministry to use the Kurdish pipeline to resume exports from Kirkuk, Reuters reported.
The Kurdish region operates a pipeline that connects to the twin Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline at Khabur on the border with Turkey.
Earlier this month, al-Luaybi said Iraq aimed to double the output of Kirkuk oilfields to one million bpd after retaking the province from Kurdish forces in October, according to a report by AFP.
Iran and Iraq also recently announced an agreement to truck 30,000 to 60,000 barrels of Kirkuk oil per day in a swap deal.
The deal envisages taking crude oil to Iran’s Kermanshah refinery.
Iraq is the second-largest crude oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after Saudi Arabia, and holds the world’s fifth-largest proven crude oil reserves after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Iran, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).