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Talks to restart Iraq oil exports via Turkiye pipeline ongoing - Iraq source

October 3, 2023 at 8:27 pm

An oil tanker carries oil to the Gwer Oil Refinery, which is one of the most important industrial facilities processing oil products, in Erbil, Iraq on 6 August 2023 [Ahsan Mohammed Ahmed Ahmed – Anadolu Agency ]

Talks to restart Iraqi oil exports via a crude oil pipeline that runs through Turkiye are still ongoing, an Iraqi oil official told Reuters, one day after Turkiye said operations would start again this week following a near six-month stoppage, Reuters reports.

We have further meetings soon and things will be more clear on how serious is Turkiye to show some flexibility

the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic.

Turkiye’s Energy Minister, Alparslan Bayraktar, had said on Monday that Turkiye would resume operating the pipeline this week, while speaking on a panel at the ADIPEC energy conference in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.

Iraq has not made an official comment on the matter.

Ankara halted flows on Iraq’s northern oil export route about six months ago after an arbitration ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ordered Ankara to pay Baghdad damages for unauthorised exports by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) between 2014 and 2018.

READ: Turkiye-Iraq crude oil pipeline to resume this week after six-month halt

Turkiye later started maintenance work on the pipeline that contributes about 0.5 per cent of global crude supply.

Baghdad and Ankara agreed to wait until a maintenance assessment on the pipeline, which goes through a seismic zone, was complete to restart flows while still engaging in a legal battle on arbitration awards.

“We’re still in the middle of ongoing talks and predicting when oil flow could be resumed depends on how positive the results will be around sticking issues,” the official said, adding: “Also if Turkiye is willing to hold off on its demands and allow oil exports to restart without setting preconditions.”

Sources have told Reuters that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is likely to visit Baghdad in October to resolve the issue.

In April, Iraq petitioned a US federal court to enforce the ICC arbitration award.

Ankara is seeking a halt to this US litigation and a lack of progress on resolving this issue was one of the reasons behind the postponement of a planned August visit by Erdogan, sources have said.

READ: Iraq loses $5.5bn due to halt in oil exports through Turkiye