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Kurdish Media Allege OPEC Request for Resumption of Oil Exports to Turkey

Just a week after the Iraqi federal government announced it was repairing its own oil pipeline to Turkey, which would override a Kurdish oil pipeline that has been offline amidst a three-way diplomatic dispute between Baghdad, Erbil and Ankara, Iraqi media report that OPEC is urging Baghdad to resume Kurdish oil exports to Turkey. 

According to Kurdistan24 news agency, citing an unnamed source in the Iraqi Federal Oil Ministry, OPEC has requested that Iraqi Federal Oil Minister Hayyan Abdul Ghani approve oil exports from Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. 

In what the news agency called a “formal appeal to the Iraqi Oil Minister”, OPEC has allegedly requested that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) be allowed to export 200,000 barrels of oil per day via the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The news agency also claims that the request has now been forwarded to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. The 1.4-million-bpd-capacity Iraq-Turkey pipeline has been offline since March last year, but was pumping around 450,000 bpd just prior to its closure. 

The Iraqi media claims of a request from OPEC have not been independently confirmed. 

Baghdad’s maneuvering here is intended to lead to the revocation of the KRG’s semi-autonomous status, and international oil companies are now being pressured to sign new contracts with Bagdad for their oil and gas operations on Kurdish territory. 

In the meantime, Iraqi officials say the repaired pipeline that will replace the shut-down Kurdish pipeline is set to be operational by the end of this month, signaling a victory for Baghdad and the potential end of Kurdish semi-autonomy, which could prompt additional unrest in the region.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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