Required maintenance on oil pipelines connecting the Kurdistan region in Iraq to Turkey will bring the facilities offline for three days, according to a Turkish official.
“The export of oil from Kirkuk and the Kurdistan Region has been halted upon a request from the Turkish side due to maintenance in the pumps, lasting three days,” engineer Farhad Hamza, from Iraq’s North Oil Company, told the Kurdish outlet Rudaw. “The reason is a technical issue on the Turkish side. Turkish authorities have informed us of the halt until the problem is resolved.”
Kurdish oil revenues will be set back by $23 million a day due to the closures. Hamza said Turkish financials would also be affected, but did not specify the scope of the effect.
Most of the exports from landlocked Kurdistan are being carried out via the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean coast. In August last year, the central Iraqi government and the KRG resolved a dispute over the shipment of oil via the Ceyhan pipeline from the Kirkuk fields operated by the central government’s North Oil Company.
The vital export route to the Turkish export terminal could be jeopardized by non-technical issues if the Turks and the Kurds further strain their centuries-old uneasy relations. Another risk to the Kirkuk oil flow is rival Kurdish parties squabbling over oil revenues or opposing the ruling Kurdish party’s deals with Baghdad over oil and money.
Kurdistan’s argument on autonomy from Iraq on political matters hinges on oil revenues – which the regional government uses to pay its own Peshmarga army and offer public services to its citizens.
Last week, Russia’s oil giant Rosneft ordered its first crude oil cargo of 600,000 barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government, according to a report from the TASS news agency.