Turkey’s Energy Minister Alpaslan Bayraktar announced this week that the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline (ITP) is now technically capable of resuming operations, placing pressure on Baghdad to restart exports from oil fields in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region. Absent these volumes, Iraq may find itself once again in breach of the minimum throughput requirements specified in the Iraq-Turkey treaty governing the pipeline.
Exports have been halted since mid-March when Ankara closed the pipeline following Iraq’s victory in a nine-year arbitration against Turkey (MEES, 31 March) over the latter’s facilitation of independent oil exports by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Despite the KRG quickly coming to an agreement to hand oversight for crude exports to federal exporter Somo, Ankara kept the pipeline to Ceyhan closed, citing damage to the pipeline related to February’s earthquake and flooding. (CONTINUED - 1689 WORDS)