Turkey said Monday it would be forced to export crude oil produced from Iraq’s Kurdistan province and stored in Ceyhan port if Kurdistan and the Iraqi government failed to settle oil-related disputes.
Oil storage tanks in the Turkish Ceyhan port are almost full thus could not receive more crude oil from northern Iraqi fields but after exporting quantities in tanks, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.
Turkey will have to export the Iraqi oil in Ceyhan soon, he said. “We cannot keep these oil stocks in the port.” Turkey, said Yildiz, allocated three tanks in Ceyhan for oil produced from fields run by the local government in Kurdistan. These tanks can store up to 2.5 million barrels.
Turkey began receiving through a new pipeline last December crude oil produced in northern Iraq, a move strongly objected by the government in Baghdad.
The Iraqi government threatened the Kurdistan administration to cut its share in the budget if it started exporting crude oil via Turkey without Baghdad’s approval.
Ankara tried four months ago to persuade the Kurds and Iraqi government to solve their differences through negotiations. Turkey affirmed to the two parties it would not export a single crude oil barrel before the settlement of their problem.
But negotiations did not yield results. Iraq’s Kurdistan and Baghdad are still at odds over the share of the Kurdish administration from oil revenues.
On the other hand, Yildiz said Ankara and Moscow agreed in principle to increase Russia natural gas exports to Turkey from 16 to 19 billion cubic feet per year through the Blue Stream pipeline.