Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline said to be unusable

22 April 2014

Persistent militant attacks on the crude export pipeline have left it out of action

Iraq’s oil export pipeline through Turkey has been taken out of action again, following militant attacks that have rendered it “unusable”, according to Turkey’s Energy Minister.

The 1.5 million-barrel-a-day (b/d) twin pipeline has not run at full capacity for several years due to damage inflicted on one of the pumping stations during the Gulf War. The single operational line has also been subject to regular attacks and sabotage.

“The pipeline on the Iraqi side is in unusable shape. This is a loss for Iraq,” said Taner Yildiz, Turkey’s Energy Minister, according to Reuters agency.

Crude has been shipped from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq to Turkey, although without the consent of the federal government in Baghdad. According to Yildiz, about 1.5 million barrels of Iraqi oil is currently being stored at the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

The port has three tanks for oil from the Kurdish region, with a capacity of up to 2.5 million barrels. Exports could begin once these tanks are full, despite the absence of an agreement with the Iraqi government on independent oil sales.

Full crude exports through the new Kurdish pipeline are expected to start in the second half of 2014, following upgrades to its pumping stations. The pipeline runs from Dohuk to the border with Turkey, where it ties in to the existing 40-inch section of the Iraq-Turkey pipeline through a new metering station. Exports are expected to average 60,000-70,000 b/d in 2014.

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