MEES learns that amid swirling diplomacy, the federal Iraqi government informed Ankara in no uncertain terms, that any attempt to allow independent oil exports by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) would be met with swift diplomatic action and other retaliatory measures against Turkish interests in Iraq.

By all accounts, Ankara was on the verge of granting its approval for the start of Kurdish oil exports in coming weeks through one of two parallel lines, that make up the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline that has been the main conduit for Iraq’s northern oil exports, but is currently used at less than full capacity, leaving one pipeline idle. The KRG recently completed its own pipeline linking the Genel-operated Taq Taq field to the main northern pipeline, while Iraq’s Kar Group, which operates both the Khurmala Dome oil field and a 100,000 b/d refinery, transformed a gas pipeline into an oil line. This has been tied to a new metering station beyond the federally-controlled measuring station at Fishkabur just south of the Turkish border – just one of several elements of the KRG’s plans that Baghdad says will have to change, before it will sanction KRG-Turkey shipments (see p6). (CONTINUED - 2286 WORDS)