The oil pipelines from Iraq are full and ready to start operating as soon as Baghdad reaches agreement with the UN on its oil-forfood offer, officials in state pipeline agency Botas said on 1 June.

Repairs to sabotage damage on the pipelines in Turkey had withstood pumping between 30 May- 1 June to fill them and build up pressure, Botas senior officials said. Most of a Botas team returned on 3 June from technical discussions in Iraq on the reopening of the pipelines.

The pipelines were damaged in 10-15 sabotage attacks by the rebel Kurdish Workers’ Party in 1995 and 1993, according to the Botas officials. Spillage of around 200-300 barrels of oil after the attacks caused air gaps in the pipelines which had to be filled by the renewed pumping.

The smaller and older 40-inch line of the two, running a distance of 900 kilometres from Kirkuk in Iraq, would be used for technical reasons for the limited exports, the Botas officials said. However, they emphasised the 46-inch pipeline was also in good operating order.

The officials also said an undisclosed amount of Iraqi crude remained in tankage at Yumurtalik, Turkey’s Mediterranean terminal for the pipelines in its Iskenderun Gulf.

They added that Baghdad still owed unspecified transport royalties for Botas’ operation of the pipelines from before the Gulf crisis, but that these were not included in the $50 million Turkey would earn from transport of the limited exports under the UN offer.