MIDDLE EAST

Iraq aims to by-pass KRG, boost oil exports to Turkey through own pipeline

IRAQ AIMS TO BY-PASS KRG, BOOST OIL EXPORTS TO TURKEY THROUGH OWN PIPELINE

Iraq has started to repair its own sections of the Kirkuk - Ceyhan oil pipeline to bypass the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and increase its oil exports over Turkey following the controversial independence referendum.

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Ali Hussein Al-Luiebi ordered Tuesday the repair of the pipeline connecting the oil fields near the contested city of Kirkuk with the Mediterranean oil terminal of Ceyhan in Turkey.

Iraqi Oil Ministry said Tuesday that it aims to increase exports through the pipeline to 400,000 barrels per day.

Iraq's National Security Council, which convened under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on late Monday, asked all neighboring countries to suspend commercial relations with the KRG and work only with Baghdad instead, especially in oil trade.

The Iraqi section of the pipeline, which starts from Kirkuk, turns southwest to Baiji refinery and heads northwest to the Turkish border, is largely controlled by the central government, however, some 70 kilometer section of the pipeline falls within the jurisdiction of KRG or areas de-facto controlled by the KRG.

The section of the pipeline in Iraqi province of Nineveh, along with Baiji refinery, fell into the hands of Daesh terrorist group during its summer offensive in 2014, when it captured large swathes of northwestern and central Iraq, including the country's second largest city Mosul.

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