UK-Turkish Genel Energy has completed the construction of the first phase of its oil export pipeline in the Iraqi Kurdistan region of Iraq.

According to a 22 April company statement, the 20-inch, 75-kilometre pipeline connects the Taq Taq field with the Khurmala Dome formation of the giant Kirkuk oil field. This will allow the company up to 200,000 barrels a day (b/d) to ship oil through the federal Iraqi export system to Turkey.

A second phase of the export pipeline is currently under construction. Genel has not revealed the name of the contractor. The pipeline will run from Khurmala to the Feysh Khabour pumping station and the metering point will be near the Iraqi border with Turkey.

The 40-inch pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2013, with an initial capacity of 300,000 b/d, although Genel has previously said it could carry as much as 1 million b/d. The Taq Taq field currently produces 120,000 b/d. Genel says it is on track to deliver a capacity expansion of 200,000 b/d in 2014.

Genel Energy oil exports
Export route Capacity (b/d)
Road tankers 10,000-20,000
Taq Taq to Khurmala pipeline 200,000
Khurmala to Feysh Khabour pipeline (initial) 300,000
Khurmala to Feysh Khabour pipeline (maximum) 1 million
b/d=Barrels a day. Sources: Genel Energy; MEED

Genel is also building a 36-inch gas pipeline from Khurmala to Dohuk. This will be completed by June and could be converted to carry oil by the end of the year.

Genel began exporting oil to Turkey by truck in January, for the first time without the knowledge of the federal government in Baghdad. Starting at around 10,000 b/d, the shipments are expected to rise to 15,000-20,000 b/d. The company is compensated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for its exports. The KRG in turn receives refined products such as gasoline from Turkey. On 16 April, the company announced the first lifting of its crude from the Taq Taq field from the Turkish Mediterranean port of Mersin.

The KRG had previously relied on trucking its exports to a tie-in point for shipment through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline. However, disputes with Baghdad over payments have led to frequent shut-ins for Kurdish oil. Genel’s exports were last halted in December pending the receipt of outstanding payments from the KRG.