The Iraqi government has decided to rehabilitate the Kirkuk-Ceyhan and the Basra-Aqaba oil pipelines within a major plan build a pipeline network to carry oil products across all its territory., including oil exports from Kirkuk oilfields which are currently transported through the Kurdistan Region, according to KirkukNow sources.
An official from the North Oil Company told KirkukNow that the Iraqi government under a decision issued by the oil minister a few weeks ago intends to rehabilitate both strategic oil pipelines aiming to “ensure that Kirkuk oil exports are transported through these pipelines.”
The source indicated that preparations are yet to be made, but he expected “work on the project to start soon.”
The source added that some parts of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline needs routine maintenance, however there are hundreds of kilometers of new pipelines need to be installed, particularly in the areas located within Ninewa province.
The Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline was subjected to sabotage in 2014 after Islamic State fighters swept into Ninewa; as a result the government was forced to carry the oil exports through the Kurdistan Region.
The government can use the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline to deliver Kirkuk crude oil exports if it wants to
“Moreover, the government plans to build a new pipeline to transport Basra oil exports to Jordan’s Aqaba port, which will replace the old one”, the source said.
Asked whether there are any future plans to connect Kirkuk oilfields to the Basra-Aqaba pipeline, the source explained that the major goal behind the project is to build a network that connects all the oilfields in Iraq together. “The government can use the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline to deliver Kirkuk crude oil exports if it wants to.”
Currently 80,000 bpd of Kirkuk oil is exported through Kurdista Region pipelines.
The Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline was built in 1977 to carry Basra oil exports to Jordan; however, oil supplies through the pipeline stopped in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Ahmed Askari, head of the Kirkuk provincial council’s oil and energy committee said the Iraqi government wants to use cheaper transport for its oil exports, adding that “the changing international political equations might have urged the government to push forward with its plans to renovate the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline and re-activate the Basra-Aqaba pipeline.”
“As far as I know, there are two reasons behind the Iraqi government’s scheme: One of them is to find an alternative to the Kurdistan Region pipelines, particularly after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) expressed commitment to the budget law which implies that the KRG should to export 250,000 bpd. Another reason could be attributed to the international and regional equations, in addition to the cheaper expenses of using pipelines instead of expensive and hazardous transport by tanker truck.”