Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz says the country has begun exporting the first cargo of crude oil from Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to international markets.
Yildiz said on Thursday that the first one-million-barrel cargo of oil was exported through the country’s Ceyhan port.
The Turkish minister declined to comment on the buyer as the sale was carried out by the Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Kurdistan region has sent about 2.5 million barrels of oil to Turkey, being stored in storage tanks at Ceyhan port.
The export came following a long-running dispute between Iraq’s central government and Kurdistan over the control of oil exports in the semi-autonomous region.
Baghdad says oil sales should be overseen by the central government and considers any independent oil exports as tantamount to smuggling.
The Iraqi government has threatened to boycott Turkish companies and cancel contracts with Turkish firms over their deals with the country’s Kurdistan regional government.
In early January, Yildiz said Iraq’s Kurdistan had started flowing crude oil to neighboring Turkey, despite Baghdad’s criticism of the energy exports.
The Turkish minister said the crude was being pumped via a new pipeline to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, adding that oil flows through the pipeline would start at 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) and rise to 400,000 bpd.