Iraq and Turkey have intensified their efforts to isolate independent seeking Kurds by bypassing the region while re-opening a disused oil pipeline between the two countries.
The central government in Iraq wants to restore one of its oldest pipelines that run from Kirkuk in the Kurdish region of Iraq to Mediterranean port of Ceyhan in Southern Turkey. The pipeline was damaged in areas occupied by Daesh until Iraqi forces regained control of the region late last year.
Iraq’s oil minister, Abdul Karim Luaibi Bahedh announced in a statement today, repairs to the pipeline, which was once a key artery of Iraq’s oil export.
State-owned oil companies will begin a “comprehensive and urgent repair and rehabilitation of the crude oil pipeline from the Kirkuk fields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan” said Luaibi Bahedh. The oil ministry also announced that it was increasing its export through the pipeline from 250,000 to 400,000 barrels a day.
The announcement follows comments by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi late Monday who asked all neighbouring countries to suspend commercial relations with the Kurdish Regional Government and work only with Baghdad instead, especially in the oil trade.
Since last month’s Kurdish Independence referendum Baghdad has been piling pressure on Iraqi Kurds to reverse the independence vote. It has taken a number of measures against Irbil, the administrative capital of Iraqi Kurdistan in the north of the country, including taking control of borders and a ban on international flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan’s airports.
Iraqi central government has also taken control over all crude oil that the OPEC nation exports to Ceyhan saying that it has sole authority to export oil produced anywhere within in the country’s border.