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Despite compounding obstacles, the Iraqi Kurds have managed to increase oil exports to Turkey, with new April figures showing an average of over 511,000 barrels per day, even without Baghdad’s oil coming through the Kirkuk pipeline.
The average for April was 511,888 barrels per day of Iraqi Kurdish oil going through Turkey, up from 327,371 barrels per day in March.
In February and March, a pipeline was taken offline for reasons that still remain enigmatic. This was followed by a move on the part of the central government in Iraq to suspend its own exports through the Kirkuk-Turkey pipeline. This move was punishment by Baghdad for the Iraqi Kurds’ unilateral exports to Turkey.
Before these complications, Iraqi Kurdistan was exporting 600,000 barrels per day to Turkey.
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In April, revenue from exports to Turkey totaled U.S. $376,395,901, of which $58,895,901 was allocated to oil producers in the region, according to the Iraqi Kurd Ministry of Natural Resources.
An additional cargo of 1,025,828 barrels of oil was allocated to a contractor against its 2015 prepayments.
In the meantime, the renewed conflict in the Kurdish-majority area in southeastern Turkey has trimmed trans-border trade with Iraqi Kurdistan by a whopping 60 percent, officials said.
In a statement carried by Ekurd.net, the Kurdistan Regions Directorate explained trade had been on the wane since 2013, but the resumption of fights between the Turkish military and Kurdish rebels has brought to its lowest levels, especially through the main Ibrahim Khalil (Habur) border crossing.
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In November 2014, Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu said trade volume with Iraq stood at U.S. $12 billion, of which $8 billion was with Iraqi Kurdistan. A year later, trade volume fell to $8.5 billion.
Officials in Baghdad have long warned that Turkey’s military actions, which has now seen deployment of troops to northern Iraq, would affect economic ties. Last year, Iraq responded to such an incursion by placing an embargo on Turkish imports and closing commercial offices in Istanbul.
By James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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