World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's energy ministry has started technical work with Iraq's central government on shipping crude oil from Basra in southern Iraq via the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline to Turkey's Mediterranean coast and on to world markets, its minister said on Friday.
The announcement came days after Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region said it might begin selling natural gas directly to Turkey within two years, a move that was expected to further strain Ankara's ties with Baghdad.
"We have launched technical work with the Iraq central government on bringing Basra crude oil from Kirkuk to Ceyhan and from there to world markets," the ministry quoted Energy Minister Taner Yıldız as saying.
No further details on the plans were immediately available.
Iraq is expected to provide the world's largest expansion in oil export capacity in 2012 due to the opening of two floating single point mooring (SPM) terminals in the Gulf earlier this year. That increase is adding to global supplies as sanctions curb shipments from Iran.
The idea of shipping Basra oil via Turkey appeared to be new.
Iraq is the second-biggest market for Turkish exports, amounting to more than $8 billion last year, after Germany.
But Turkish officials have been locked in a war of words with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki since December, when he ordered the arrest of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, based on allegations that he ran death squads.
In recent years, Ankara has also cultivated growing trade ties with the regional administration in the north, which accounts for some 70 percent of Turkey's exports to Iraq and would be Turkey's eighth-biggest export market if it were a country.
Turkish army says 4 of the terrorists had fled hideouts in northern Iraq
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim condemns recent Israeli restrictions on Muslims’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque
Sami Ciftci was shot dead after being kidnapped in Catalca village of Hakkari's Semdinli district
Turkish president comments on recent remarks by a US general on name change of PKK/PYD to Syrian Democratic Forces
Turkey provides advantages for foreign investors, says Cavusoglu
Turkish president condemns use of excessive force at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa compound by Israeli forces
Binali Yildirim says 3 abandoned buildings collapsed in Turkish resort as result of earthquake in the Aegean Sea
5 terrorists killed in air-supported operation, and 1 killed in fire exchange on land
Turkish defense industry head Ismail Demir says Ankara will continue its projects despite current dispute with Germany
Body of Turkish national to be returned following autopsy
Ankara wants to develop long-term, win-win business alliances based on mutual respect and equality, says Turkey's president
Cavusoglu speaks with Palestinian counterpart on the phone over developments in Jerusalem
Turkish president blasts German economy minister’s remarks 'aimed at frightening companies investing' in Turkey
Countries sign deals on energy, industry and trade
Turkish citizens arrived in Aegean resort of Bodrum after being stranded on Kos