Turkey, Iraq differ on whether oil exports resumed
The flow of crude oil on a link carrying about a quarter of Iraq's total exports has resumed on one of two pipes after a fire shut it down, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters on Tuesday.
August 28, 2012 6:39 by Reuters
The flow of crude oil on a link carrying about a quarter of Iraq’s total exports has resumed on one of two pipes after a fire shut it down, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters on Tuesday.
However, the Iraqi Oil Ministry said exports to Turkey were still suspended on Tuesday because Turkish pumping stations were not working.
“The flow of oil resumed at 10 a.m. today on this (second pipe), and the fire on the damaged link was extinguished last night,” Yildiz said.
The second link in the double pipeline will become operational within one week when repair work, which has now begun, should be completed, Yildiz also said.
But Asim Jihad, an Oil Ministry spokesman in Baghdad, said Iraq was unable to export crude from its northern oilfields and called on the Turkish side to quickly rehabilitate the pipeline.
“Despite switching crude flows through another line, until now we cannot resume exports because Turkish authorities informed us crude pumping stations are not working due to a lack of electricity,” Jihad said.
“We demand that the Turkish energy authorities urgently fix the problems at the crude pumping stations so we could resume exports and avoid further disruptions,” Jihad said.
Turkey was forced to close Kirkuk-Ceyhan, which carries up to 400,000 barrels of oil a day, on Monday after a fire blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) hit the pipeline.
The PKK has claimed responsibility for repeated attacks on the pipeline, which it considers a “strategic asset” in its 28-year armed campaign against the Turkish state that has claimed more than 40,000 lives.
Turkey lists the PKK as a terrorist organisation, as does the European Union and the United States.
“The occasional terorist attacks will not interrupt our country’s development,” Yildiz said. “They will not deter us from our ambition to benefit from the region’s energy sources.”
A shipper said no tankers were loading at Ceyhan, the pipeline’s export terminal on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, on Tuesday, and that it may take a week or 10 days to return to normal. (Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad and Ayla Jean Yackley in Istanbul; Editing by William Hardy)