BAGHDAD (Reuters) – An oil export pipeline in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region has been upgraded to a capacity of 1 million barrels per day from 700,000 bpd, the Kurdish regional government’s natural resources ministry said on Sunday.
The pipeline carries crude across Iraqi Kurdistan and connects to a metering station in Fish-Khabur near the Turkish and Syrian borders, before feeding another pipeline that takes the crude to the Turkish Mediterranean coast for export.
“This extra capacity will accommodate future production growth from KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) producing fields, and can also be used by the federal government (in Baghdad) to export the currently stranded oil in Kirkuk and surrounding areas,” the ministry’s statement said.
The KRG currently exports over 400,000 bpd of crude oil, it said.
Exports from oilfields in Kirkuk have been on hold since Iraqi government forces took control of them from the Kurds last year in retaliation for a Kurdish referendum on independence which was widely opposed by Turkey, Iran and Western powers.
Kurdistan has built the pipeline for Kirkuk exports to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan after the old Kirkuk pipeline belonging to the federal government had been damaged by Islamic State militants.
Reporting by John Davison, Ahmed Rasheed, Dmitry Zhdannikov in London; Editing by Adrian Croft