By John Lee.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is planning to build an oil pipeline to Turkey with a capacity of 1 million barrels a day, according to a report from Platts.
KRG natural resources minister Ashti Hawrami (pictured) told an energy conference in Turkey on Thursday that plans were already in place for the construction of short spur lines from producing fields and that funding had been arranged for a main export line to carry crude from these fields to the border.
Plans are underway to launch a construction tender for the project, he added.
He said that initially the new line would connect with the existing Turkish section of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil line but that talks were underway with investors interested in building a new pipeline inside Turkey running from the border with northern Iraq to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
"Any such pipeline will be an Iraqi pipeline...it will be for the benefit of all nations, all the Iraqi people and all the Turkish people," Hawrami said.
"It is not designed to be anything else except supplying secure oil to the market," he added in an apparent reference to recent talk that the KRG was planning its own oil export routes independent of the federal government in Baghdad.
Talk of building new pipelines through Turkey, which currently serves as an outlet for Iraqi crude oil produced in the north through the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, has given rise to speculation that this might be a first step toward greater independence by the Kurdish province.
Hawrami stressed that the new pipeline would be Iraqi property on the Iraqi side of the border and Turkish on the Turkish and that the oil the line carried would remain the property of the Iraqi state.
"We believe that by 2015 we will safely reach 1 million bpd and by 2019, 2 million bpd," Hawrami said.