Iraq ups oil flow to Turkey to block Kurdish oil
Baghdad has ramped up the crude oil it pumps to Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline in order to block the incipient oil flow between Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Hurriyet Daily News reported.
"As the test flows at the pipeline coming from Northern Iraq are completed and normal flow has begun, the central [Iraqi] government has raised the oil flow though the line that used to run with low capacity," Reuters quoted a source close to the matter as saying, without specifying the amount.
The Kirkuk-Yumrutalik pipeline was reported as carrying 400,000 barrels of oil per day, which is far below its actual capacity of 1.5 million barrels, according to Turkish energy ministry statements.
Desperately seeking alternative energy resources, Turkey has signed an agreement with the KRG for the establishment of a separate 300,000-barrel capacity pipeline.
On Dec. 23, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said test flows for Northern Iraqi oil have been completed up to Ceyhan, Turkey's southern coastal district in the Mediterranean province of Adana, adding oil flow would start after the tests.
Until recently, Baghdad has been explicitly opposed to the autonomous Kurdish region's direct oil deals with foreign companies and the export of Kurdish oil and gas to Turkey.
However, some fresh negotiations between the parties have appeared to be yielding some solutions over the issue.
The KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani was reported as saying on Dec. 25 the central government is leaning toward resolving energy rows with its autonomous Kurdish counterpart.
Iraq is keen to see oil shipped via pipeline from the northern Kurdish region but any exports must be approved by Baghdad, Deputy Prime Minister for energy Hussain al-Shahristani had said, after flows on the pipeline started on Dec. 17.