The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG’s) plan to start crude oil exports through the federal oil pipeline failed to materialize as planned on 1 April because of yet another attack against the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline. The delay is a setback to Erbil’s effort to monetize its crude oil exports, as it negotiates a final settlement with the federal government. In the south, the start-up of the West Qurna-2 oil field was feted by Baghdad officials, but foreign operators remain frustrated at the onshore bottlenecks that are forcing them to hold back production.
The KRG said in a statement on 31 March that it was unable to pump the 100,000 b/d it offered to export through state oil marketer SOMO as a goodwill gesture to Baghdad as planned, having been advised by both the state-owned North Oil Company (NOC) and the Iraqi Ministry of Oil (MoO) that the northern pipeline was not operational. “Due to ongoing repairs to the main Kirkuk-Ceyhan export pipeline, the KRG has been advised by NOC and the MoO that they are not yet ready to receive any oil from the Kurdistan Region.” (CONTINUED - 1219 WORDS)