Iraq's central government plans to replace the Iraqi section of the oil pipeline stretching from the Kirkuk province in northern Iraq to Turkey's port of Ceyhan in the southern Adana province, the Iraqi Oil Ministry announced yesterday. Construction on the new pipeline will stretch from the city of Baiji in the Saladin province near Kirkuk to the Fish-Khabur crossing near the Turkish border, extending through 350 kilometers of Iraqi territories.
The new pipeline section, with a daily export capacity of 1 million barrels, will replace the old pipeline that was severely damaged in terror attacks after Daesh took control of Mosul in June 2014.
In a statement on Oct. 17, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi said his government aims to increase the export capacity of Kirkuk's oil fields from 450 billion barrels to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) with the help of international oil companies' investments. There are five oilfields in Kirkuk, among which Havana and Bai Hassan have a total export capacity of 300 billion bpd, according to the Iraqi Oil Ministry, both of which were under the Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) control for three years.
The Kirkuk-based North Oil Company could export approximately 150 billion bpd on average from the remaining three Kirkuk oil fields, the ministry said.
Since 2014, the main operating route for Kurdish oil has been through Turkey via the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline that stretches almost 1,000 kilometers from Kirkuk to Turkey's southeastern port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea.
However, this pipeline has been unable to operate at full capacity since 1990 due to conflicts in Iraq and the damage the pipeline sustained from terrorist attacks.
The illegitimate independence referendum in September held in the KRG-controlled areas across northern Iraq, including those disputed with Baghdad, has also threatened the relationship between Turkey and the KRG, including oil exports via Turkey.
Iraq is the second-largest crude oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after Saudi Arabia and holds the world's fifth-largest known crude oil reserves after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Iran, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).