Iraq Asks Turkey to Resume Kurdistan Oil Transport from Saturday

Iraq Asks Turkey to Resume Kurdistan Oil Transport from Saturday
Baghdad and the Kurdistan government have agreed on the resumption of oil export via Ceyhan.
Image by Oleksii Liskonih via iStock

Iraq has requested Turkey allow back the transport of oil from Kurdistan through the neighboring country’s Ceyhan port, the central and regional governments said Thursday, after an international ruling that ended years of dispute.

Iraq’s State Organization for Marketing Oil (SOMO) “informed the Turkish BOTAS company to resume export and loading operations, as of Saturday, May 13", Oil Minister Hayan Abdul-Ghani told the Iraqi News Agency, referring to Turkey’s state-controlled transporter Petroleum Pipeline Corp.

He told the state-owned media “the conclusion of contracts with international companies for the sale and marketing of crude oil from the Turkish port of Ceyhan has been completed, according to the mechanisms adopted by the Iraqi Oil Marketing Company SOMO”.

The statement follows an announcement by the Kurdistan government the Iraqi region has reached an agreement with Baghdad allowing the resumption of oil export via Turkey.

“The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Natural Resources announced in a statement that on 10 May Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) officially requested Turkish authorities to allow the Kurdistan Region’s oil exports via the country's Ceyhan port”, the regional government said in a press release.

“Both The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil are reportedly waiting for Turkey’s response before resuming oil exports”.

Iraq’s oil ministry had declared victory against Turkey in a case at the International Chamber of Commerce that had sought affirmation SOMO is the only entity authorized to manage Kurdistan oil shipments. Baghdad sued Ankara in 2014 for allegedly allowing oil export from the region without the consent of Iraq’s Oil Ministry, in a supposed breach of the two countries’ 1973 pipeline agreement. The Paris-based court made its decision February 13 concurring Iraq’s Oil Ministry holds the right to manage export but also ordering Baghdad to pay Ankara overdue fees and other costs.

Under the deal, the neighbors co-constructed two pipelines between the Kirkuk oil fields in Northern Iraq and the port city of Ceyhan in Southern Turkey. The first started operating 1977 and the second 1985. The pact and its subsequent amendments have provided Iraq a new channel for its top export and Turkey an opportunity to bolster Ceyhan’s position as an oil and gas transport hub in the Middle East. Iraq pays Turkey a transportation fee and until 2010 reserved part of shipments for purchase by the latter, according to the text of the court judgment.

Saying the case stemmed from the disagreement between Baghdad and Kurdistan over rights to manage oil resources, Turkey said in a statement after the ruling it “has always respected the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq and has been working relentlessly for political and economic stability of both Iraq and the region”.

“Türkiye will continue to comply with international law and stands ready to contribute in every way possible in finding a lasting solution between the true parties of this dispute”, it said in the March 28 statement.

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