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The semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) resumed on Wednesday crude oil exports via the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean coast, following a three-day planned maintenance on the Turkish side, KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources said on Twitter today.
“Export restart is a gradual process and so full export volume levels are expected by tonight,” the ministry further noted.
Dilshad Shaaban, deputy head of the natural resources committee in Kurdistan’s parliament, confirmed to Kurdish media network Rudaw that exports were expected to reach their normal rate of 600,000 bpd by the local evening hours.
On Monday, a Turkish official said that required maintenance on oil pipelines connecting Kurdistan to Turkey would bring the facilities offline for three days. Kurdish oil revenues were expected to be set back by $23 million a day due to the closure.
KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources said on Monday that oil flows to Ceyhan were temporarily halted for planned maintenance. The maintenance work was initially due to be carried out in March, but Turkish company Botas and the Kurdish ministry had agreed to defer the start of works until April 10, for 2-3 days of maintenance. At the same time, Iraq’s North Oil Company (NOC) took the opportunity to repair a technical problem with the Kirkuk pipeline to “minimize overall disruption to flows,” the KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources said.
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In August last year, the central Iraqi government and the KRG resolved a dispute over the shipment of oil via the Ceyhan pipeline from the Kirkuk fields operated by the central government’s North Oil Company. But the shaky Iraqi politics, the ISIS threat that has not been completely erased, and the generally restive region are currently deterring foreign oil companies from betting big on the Kurdish oil fields, which offer low-cost production.
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.