The closure of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) crude oil export pipeline to Turkey’s Ceyhan export terminal passed the three-month mark on 25 June. The pipeline has been shut since 25 March, despite the KRG and Baghdad coming to a tentative agreement on joint management of Kurdistan’s oil exports two weeks later (MEES, 7 April). The continued closure is placing considerable financial pressure on Erbil, while IOCs operating in the region have had to halt investment in a bid to shield cash reserves.
Turkey continues to block the resumption of exports, citing technical problems. While it is losing out on transit fees, the sums are a tiny fraction of Ankara’s economy and Turkey hopes to use the issue as leverage in negotiations with Iraq over the latter’s $1.47bn International Chamber of Commerce arbitration ‘win’ over Turkey in March (MEES, 31 March). (CONTINUED - 205 WORDS)