Oil flow to Turkey has begun from northern Iraq

Crude oil from northern Iraq has started flowing to the Turkish Mediterranean export hub of Ceyhan, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said Jan. 2, adding that he hoped authorities could begin shipping the resource by month's end pending Baghdad's approval.

"The flow of crude oil from northern Iraq has begun and is being stored in tanks. I hope that the oil from northern Iraq will be exported to world markets after obtaining full agreement [with Baghdad]," Yıldız told a news conference.

Baghdad has ramped up the crude oil it pumps into the Kirkuk-Yumurtalık pipeline as a response to the incipient oil flow between Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Turkey’s signed a multibillion-dollar energy package late last year with the KRG which will see the rich hydrocarbon resources of the semi-autonomous region independently exported via Turkey.

Yıldız visited Baghdad early last month for talks with Iraq's deputy prime minister for energy, Hussain al-Shahristani, who has long opposed Turkey's courtship of the Kurdish region.

Any exports must be approved by Baghdad, al-Shahristani said after flows on the pipeline started on Dec. 17, 2013.

The Turkish-KRG deal has enormous significance for major oil companies as well as for the Kurds and Turkey, which can benefit in domestic supply and onward westward export through Ceyhan. 

Hürriyet Daily News