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Iraq plans to reopen own oil pipeline as talks to restart Kurdish route stall

The move to reopen the pipeline will irk the Kurdistan Regional Government, as it introduces a rival route to a section of the pipeline in Kurdistan that has been shut for a year and is a crucial economic source for the semi-autonomous region.
Workers tasked with putting out the fire in an oil well, set ablaze by retreating Islamic State (IS) jihadists, assemble a water pipeline in the town of Qayyarah.

The Iraqi government is planning to repair and reopen a section of an oil pipeline that runs through the Kurdistan Region that could allow it to export 350,000 barrels per day to Turkey by the end of the month, a senior Iraqi official said Monday, as talks fell flat between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to restart a competing route of pipeline that is a key source of revenue for the semi-autonomous region. 

Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister for Upstream Affairs Basim Mohammed told Reuters that the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, which has been closed for a decade, is likely to restart flows by the end of April.

"Repair works are ongoing, and a major crude pumping station with storage facilities has been completed,” he said.

Mohammed added that repairing damaged parts of the pipeline in Iraq and finishing the pumping station will be the first stage of operations to bring the pipeline back to full capacity.

Why it matters: The Iraqi government's mothballed section of the 960-kilometer (600-mile) pipeline, which once handled around 0.5% of the global oil supply, has been closed since 2014 after Islamic State militants attacked it. Baghdad will require oil companies to negotiate with the Iraqi government to sell their oil via the revived pipeline. 

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