The amount of crude oil imported from Iraq via the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline and distributed by Turkey quadrupled in 2015 compared to the previous year; from 48.6 million barrels to 192.4 million barrels.
According to data compiled by Turkey's state-run Petroleum Pipeline Company (BOTAŞ), the amount of crude oil distributed to international markets from the Iraq-Turkey pipeline, known as the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline, increased by 300 percent in 2015, reaching 192,426,000 barrels. On a monthly basis, the flow rate in the pipeline reached its lowest last January at 11.4 million barrels; however, delivery amounts increased last April and exceeded 18 million barrels in the last four months of 2015. The highest amount of crude oil transferred via this pipeline, which has an annual capacity of 600 million barrels, was 167.5 million barrels in 2009. The pipeline carries crude oil drilled in Iraq's Kirkuk and other petroleum production fields to the Yumurtalık-Ceyhan Terminal in Turkey. From thereon, crude oil is loaded on the tankers and distributed to international markets.
Bilgay Duman, an expert at the Middle East Strategies Research Center (ORSAM), said that this increase is attributable to various reasons with the increase in pipeline security being the main one. "The primary reason behind the rising import of crude oil from Iraq is an increase in the security measures taken in transferring the crude at transition points on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Petroleum Pipeline. We know that, from time to time, the attacks of DAESH and the PKK increase and the transfer of crude oil is disrupted. However, since DAESH began retreating in 2015 and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) puts pressure on the PKK in regions where the pipeline crosses, the transfer of crude has increased," said Duman.