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Kurdistan Oilfield Restarted Despite Ongoing Export Halt

Norwegian oil and gas operator DNO ASA said on Wednesday that oil production from its Tawke field in Kurdistan had been restarted following a four-month shut-in triggered by the closure of the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline export route.

The export route remains closed and “there is no light at the end of the export pipeline,” DNO said today.  

DNO restarted oil production last month to conduct well integrity tests and synchronize reservoir models but has continued production in response to strong demand for Tawke oil. Field output currently averages 40,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd). The nearby Peshkabir field on the same license remains closed, DNO said.

One-half of the oil production from Tawke is delivered to the Kurdistan Regional Government and the balance is sold by DNO on behalf of the contractors (DNO 75% and Genel Energy 25%) to local trading companies and the oil is transported by road tanker. 

“While there is no light at the end of the export pipeline, we are seeing the headlights of more and more incoming tanker trucks loading up our Tawke cargoes on a cash-and-carry basis,” DNO Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani said. 

Kurdistan’s crude oil exports—around 400,000 bpd shipped through an Iraqi-Turkey pipeline to Ceyhan and then on tankers to the international markets—were halted on March 25 by the federal government of Iraq.

The suspension of crude oil flows out of northern Iraq and Kurdistan via Ceyhan forced companies to either curtail or suspend production because of limited capacity at storage tanks.

Iraq and Kurdistan have not exported crude oil from the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean since March 25, due to ongoing disputes about who is in charge of exports.  


Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia, is currently exporting oil by sea only via its southern oil export terminals. Around 450,000 bpd of exports from the northern fields and from Kurdistan continue to be shut in due to the dispute.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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