Iraqi Kurdistan Starts Oil Exports

The long-running dispute over oil exports between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi federal leadership in Baghdad rattles on, with Turkey becoming increasingly vocal. Iraqi officials have yet to cement a national oil law that would standardize regulations covering exports and revenue distribution from oil shipped via pipeline from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey, where it could be sold onward to international markets.

A minor breakthrough recently occurred which got limited volumes of oil flowing again from Kurdistan to Turkey, but now Turkish leadership is saying supplies are unreliable due to persistent militant attacks on the Iraqi section of the export pipeline that terminates in Ceyhan.

“The pipeline on the Iraqi side is in unusable shape. This is a loss for Iraq,” Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz was quoted as saying by Reuters… “We would be in a position to send this oil to the world markets once the tanks are full. We can’t keep this in tanks,” Yildiz said. – Upstream

The pipeline has a total capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day – but volumes have been well below that threshold – and the oil terminal at Ceyhan reportedly has 2.5 mmbbls reserved for Iraqi Kurdish crude.