No risk to Turkey’s oil supply from Iraqi violence, says energy minister

Photo: No risk to Turkey’s oil supply from Iraqi violence, says energy minister / Turkey

Recent developments in Iraq do not pose risks to Turkey's energy supply security because the oil flow from the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline has been suspended for three months anyway, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz has said, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"The latest developments in Iraq related to the energy sector do not affect Turkey's crude oil security supply," Yildiz said on June 13, seeking to assuade rising concerns.

The extending control of the jihadist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq, from where Turkey receives a considerable share of its oil supply, has sparked worries over the security of the pipelines and production fields.

Yildiz said the flow of oil at the Kirkuk-Yurmutalik pipeline, which is now controlled by ISIL, had been suspended for the past three months.

The oil flow through the line has been halted due to a series of violent attacks over the past few months.

Kirkuk, a major oil city in northern Iraq, was taken by the forces of northern Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from the central Iraqi authority on June 12.

The seizure came after the start of the unrest in the north and west of Iraq on June 10, when ISIL took control of the Iraqi province of Mosul. Ankara and Baghdad's energy relations were already going through a rough patch due to dispute over Kurdish-controlled north's oil exports to world from Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast.

The shipping of oil extracted from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) last month has chilled ties both between Baghdad and Ankara, and between the central government and Kurdish authorities in Arbil.

The cargo of Kurdish oil left Turkey 10 days ago aboard a United Leadership tanker, prompting Baghdad to file for international arbitration against Ankara for facilitating the sale.

Iraq says its State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) has exclusive rights to manage sales of crude from the entire country, including Kurdistan, and considers unilateral exports from the region as "smuggling."

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