World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey will not import energy from Iraq without the approval of the federal government in Baghdad, aware of its concerns after the autonomous Kurdish region said it would build a second oil pipeline to Turkey, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Friday.
Kurdish-built pipelines, by offering a route to Western markets that bypasses national infrastructure, may encourage northern Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to seek greater independence from Baghdad, with which it has been at loggerheads over oil-production contracts and revenue sharing.
"Turkey is aware of Iraq's concerns... and has given its guarantee that it will not permit any kind of oil shipments without the approval of the federal government in Baghdad," Yildiz told reporters, addingTurkey did not want to violate its existing energy agreements with Baghdad.
The KRG has been shipping small amounts of crude to Turkey overland by truck since 2012.
A pipeline built by the KRG is already complete and is being tested before it begins carrying oil in early 2014.
Ashti Hawrami, the KRG's natural-resources minister, said on Thursday in Istanbul the region now wants to build a second link with Turkey as it targets production of 3 million barrels of oil per day eventually for export.
The ageing double-pipe Kirkuk-Ceyhan is operating at a fraction of its capacity and is regularly knocked out of service by sabotage or technical faults.