Iraq-Turkey Pipeline Capacity Increase Near Complete

Work to increase the capacity of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan crude pipeline from Iraq to Turkey will be completed within months, according to a Turkish government official.

Daily flows through the link will rise by about 100,000 to 200,000 barrels a day, from the current rate of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels, when improvements to pumping station equipment in northern Iraq are complete, the official said, asking not to be identified because the issue hasn’t been publicly announced.

The main northern crude export pipeline, running from Iraq’s Kirkuk oil fields to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, operates at far below its designed capacity of 1.6 million barrels a day after years of disrepair amid international sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s regime and more recent sabotage attacks.

Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, whose economy has boomed from oil production since Hussein’s ouster in 2003, is in disagreement with the central government over the sharing of oil revenue, and its plans to build a direct link to Turkey.

Kurdistan plans to increase shipments to 400,000 barrels a day by the end of the year from 300,000 barrels now and is planning to open a direct 1 million barrel-a-day link to western Turkey within two years, Ashti Hawrami, the Kurdish Regional Government’s natural resources minister, said Oct. 31.

The Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipe is controlled by the Iraqi central government in Baghdad.

(Corrects amount of increase foreseen in second paragraph.)
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