KRG Pipeline Politics: Ankara-Baghdad Balancing Act Looks Increasingly Perilous

Iraqi Kurdistan has resumed crude exports through its pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean. But flows from the Iraqi state North Oil Company (NOC) have been halted. This highlights the KRG’s perilous dependency on the vagaries of multiple actors with varying agendas.

Northern Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) resumed crude oil exports through its 700,000 b/d pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan on the evening of 11 March following a 23 day outage.

But its pipeline woes continued as the Kirkuk-based North Oil Company promptly called a halt to the flow of its oil into this export route, denying around 150,000 b/d of crude from Kirkuk to the KRG. NOC is in theory federally-controlled, though the decision to pump oil via the KRG route in recent months appeared to have come from the Kirkuk province and its ethnically Kurdish governor Najmaldin Karim, who, desperately short of revenue has played a balancing act between Erbil and Baghdad.


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