Following Three-Year Hiatus,

Resumption of Oil Production at Gayara (Qayyarah) Field

Loading and transporting crude oil from the Qayyarah field through the railways for transporting fuel in preparation for exporting it abroad, Nineveh, 2023. Iraqi Ministry of Oil

By Ammar Aziz in Ninewa

The production, loading and export of crude oil to global markets has resumed from the Qayyarah (Qayara or Gayara) heavy crude oil field of Nineveh Province after a three-year hiatus.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil announced in May 2023 the resumption of oil production and export operations from Qayyarah, which have been suspended since the first quarter of 2020.

Farhad Hamza, chief engineer of the state-owned North Oil Company, told KirkukNow, "The Ministry of Oil will transport Qayyarah oil under a contract to southern Iraq and from there to the world markets."

Every day, 30,000 barrels per day bpd of crude oil are transported from the Qayyarah field by tankers and railway lines for loading fuel to Basra for export abroad.

Qayyarah oil field includes 50 oil wells, 34 of which were damaged by the “militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – ISIS.” Of this number, ISIS blew 18 wells during the organization’s militants’ withdrawal from Qayyarah district in late August 2016, two years after it took control of the district.

The process of extinguishing the burning oil wells continued until the end of March 2017.

The Iraqi Oil Minister, Hayan Abdul-Ghani, said that in addition to export, the Qayyarah refinery will be supplied with 3,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

The last time that oil was exported from the Qayyara field before it was stopped - until now, the reasons for the stoppage have not been clarified - dates back to March 2020, when the volume of exports was 129,000 bpd, while exports in the previous month hit 490,0000 bpd.

"Before the ISIS war, the Iraqi government did not pay much attention to Qayyarah oil, because it was of a heavy type. It did not know how to use it," Hamza said. The Ministry of Oil concluded a contract with Sonangol, Angolan State Oil Company, to develop and produce oil from the Qayyarah fields, he pointed out.

nawti gayara (1)

Extinguishing an oil well in Qayyarah that was blown up by IS militants, Nineveh, 2017. Iraqi Ministry of Oil.

The chief engineer of the North Oil Company explained that Qayyarah oil was previously exported to the Turkish port of Ceyhan through pipelines, but now it is carried to Basra and part of it is distributed to the Qayyarah refinery for use in asphalt production.

The process of exporting oil through the Iraqi Kurdistan Region IKR pipelines to the Turkish port of Ceyhan has stopped since March 25, 2023, by a decision of the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, based on a complaint from the Iraqi government against exporting oil by the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG following years of dispute over oil production and export between Baghdad and Erbil.

Burkan Hassan, General Manager of the North Oil Company, said in a statement that the company seeks to increase the amount of production and export of crude oil from Qayyarah, and they will do so in stages.

Qayyarah oil reserves, in Qayarrah sub-district, are estimated at about one billion barrels, and it is one of the large fields in Nineveh Governorate, along with other oil fields of Ain Zala, Najma, Batma and Safiya.

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