World Bulletin / News Desk
Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq's north claims it will increase oil exports to Turkey from 120,000 barrels per day to 400,000 by the year's end, however experts believe this hints at their bid to export disputed Kirkuk oil, which is in violation of Iraq's constitution.
Northern Iraqi oil began shipment from Turkey's southern Ceyhan Port to international markets on May 22, without the agreement of the Iraqi government. Since then, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) have been sending 120,000 barrels per day to Ceyhan.
On Tuesday, KRG spokesperson said they told Turkey to get prepared for a 280,000 barrels per day increase of Kurdish oil.
Northern Iraq extracts oil from two fields; Tawqe and Taq Taq, which produce 120,000 and 113,000 barrels of oil per day respectively. Part of this total daily production of 233,000 barrels of oil is already used for domestic purposes within the Kurdish region. It appears difficult for KRG to increase production to 400,000 barrels of oil for exports in such a short period of time.
Experts told Anadolu Agency that the KRG's new calculation of exports might include oil from Kirkuk - the disputed territory between Erbil and Baghdad.
KRG's July 11 announcement of seizing two oil fields in Kirkuk - Bai Hassan and Makhmour further strengthened doubts.
KRG President Barzani rushed to hold a referendum in Kirkuk, claming Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is already implemented on the grounds that peshmerga forces seized most of the disputed territories, including the Kirkuk oil fields, when they were deployed to fight Sunni insurgents, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) at the beginning of June.
Article 140 is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk and other disputed areas through the repatriation of its inhabitants prior to the arabization which took place during the Saddam era.
The article also calls for holding a census to be followed by a referendum to allow the inhabitants to decide whether to be part of the KRG or the Baghdad government.
On the other hand, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who governs the major part of Kirkuk, and Kirkuk Governor Najmaddin Kareem, a possible candidate for Iraqi presidency, opposes de facto implementation of Article 140 claiming the move would be unconstitutional.
Kirkuk oil sale by KRG possible
Head of Carduchi Consulting and Energy Expert, Shwan Zulal said the dispute is a power struggle between the Kurdish government and the main opposition party PUK, and he believes differences will be ironed out in time as the dissenting voices in PUK are few.
Zulal said, the goal of 400,000 barrels of oil may now become a real possibility depending on who will be the next Iraqi prime minister and how the political process will progress in Iraq.
Ali Semin, an expert from Istanbul-based think tank BILGESAM said this new plan absolutely includes Kirkuk oil.
He added, "If Kurds sell Kirkuk's oil, they will completely violate the constitution. Arabs and Turkmen of the city will not stay calm after that, and Turkey will be dragged into a difficult position."
There is no oil flow from central Iraq to Turkey since March due to ISIL threats en route to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.
Last month, KRG announced that they linked Kirkuk oil distribution infrastructure to their own pipeline which sends Kurdish oil from Tawqe and Taq Taq oil to Ceyhan.
The new link binds Kirkuk's oil formation, Avana dome to the Khurmala oil field, where the Kurdish pipeline begins.
On July 11 KRG announced Kurdish forces moved to secure the oil fields of Bai Hassan and the Makhmour area, after allegedly learning of orders from Baghdad officials in the federal Ministry of Oil to sabotage the recent mutually-agreed pipeline infrastructure linking the Avana dome with the Khurmala field.
The announcement says the Avana and Makhmour fields were producing about 110,000 barrels of oil per day.Last Mod: 17 Temmuz 2014, 09:45