November 26, 2017 / 8:25 AM / 19 days ago

Iraq plans new pipeline exporting Kirkuk oil to Turkey: oil ministry

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq plans to build a new pipeline that will ship oil from Kirkuk’s oilfields to the Ceyhan port in Turkey, the oil ministry said on Sunday.

The new pipeline will replace an old and severely damaged section of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. It will start from the nearby city of Baiji city and span until the Fish-Khabur border area with Turkey, the ministry said in a statement.

Iraq stopped shipping oil through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline in 2014 after the region was overrun by Islamic State militants and subsequently recaptured by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces over the past two years.

Oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi has asked the ministry to prepare to invite companies interested in building the new pipeline project, which will be implemented under an investment model build-operate-transfer, said the statement.

Exports from oilfields in Kirkuk have been on hold since Iraqi government forces took control of them from the Kurds last month in retaliation for a Kurdish referendum on independence which was widely opposed by Turkey, Iran and Western powers.

Iraqi oil officials accuse Kurdish authorities of not responding to requests made by the oil ministry to use the Kurdish pipeline to resume exports from Kirkuk.

The Kurdish region operates a pipeline that connects to the twin Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline at Khabur on the border with Turkey.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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