Iraqi Oil Minister Orders Restoration of Old Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline

Iraqi Oil Minister Orders Restoration of Old Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline

Iraqi Ministry of Oil orders the reconstruction of an old crude pipeline transferring oil from Kirkuk fields to Ceyhan Port in Turkey, a step to bypass the one already operating by the Kurdistan Region.

Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said in a statement on Tuesday (October 10) that he has asked state-owned North Oil Company, the operator of the Kirkuk fields, the state company for oil projects and the state pipeline to urgently begin the process of restoring and reopening the Kirkuk pipeline to Ceyhan Port.

Luaibi added the challenges and the financial crisis will not prevent the Ministry to restore the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.

The section of the pipeline in the province of Nineveh fell into the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014 when the militants overran large swathes of territory in northern Iraq.

The move by the oil ministry came after the government of Iraq took measures against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over a referendum on independence of Kurdistan.

The central authorities have severed ties between the Kurdistan Region and the outside world by cutting international air links to the region, while neighboring Turkey and Iran have threatened to close their borders to oil exports.

In a new round of attempts to ratchet up pressure, the Iraqi National Security Council announced on Monday that a probe has been launched into the Kurdistan Region’s lucrative oil revenues and officials in the region who might have illegally monopolized the market.

Iraq also, once again, called on Ankara and Tehran -- who both opposed the referendum over fears of fuelling demands from their own Kurdish communities -- to close their border posts and "stop all trade" with the region.