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Iraq’s oil exports from the Kirkuk oil province could reach up to 400,000 bpd, higher than the 300,000-bpd exported before the halt last year, a Kurdish politician told Sputnik on Tuesday after exports resumed last week—a move that adds more oil to the market at a time when participants fear an oversupply and OPEC considers new production cuts.
On Friday, Iraq resumed oil exports from Kirkuk, a year after it had stopped oil flows from the area due to a dispute with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Initial flows were 50,000 bpd-60,000 bpd, industry sources told Reuters.
“The export of oil from Kirkuk through the Iraqi Kurdistan oil pipeline, which transports oil to international markets through the Turkish port of Ceyhan, began on November 16,” Hoshawi Babakr, the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) representative in Russia, told Sputnik.
“The increase in the volume of this export will take place in several stages: from 50,000 —100,000 barrels per day at the moment to 400,000 barrels upon reaching full capacity. I would like to note that prior to the suspension of the export of Kirkuk oil through the Kurdish oil pipeline in 2017, its volume was 300,000 barrels per day,” Babakr said.
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In the talks with Iraq’s federal government, Kurdistan insists that the rights of Russia’s Rosneft in the oil production in Kirkuk be preserved, Babakr told Sputnik. Under a 2017 agreement between Rosneft and Kurdistan, the Russian giant received the partial right to extract oil and gas, export, and manage flows from Kirkuk to Turkey, Babakr said.
Around 300,000 bpd of crude oil exported in the Kirkuk province were shut in when the Iraqi federal government moved in October last year to take control over the oil fields in Kirkuk from Kurdish forces after the semi-autonomous region held a referendum that Baghdad didn’t recognize. The only export outlet of the Kirkuk oil is the oil pipeline of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
On Saturday, Kurdistan region’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani welcomed “the Iraqi government decision to resume export of Kirkuk oil through the Kurdistan Region pipeline to benefit all Iraqis,” Barzani said at a meeting with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran, Andrew Peek.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.