An oil pipeline carrying crude from Iraq’s Kirkuk oil fields to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan is unusable because of persistent militant attacks, Turkey’s energy minister said on Monday.
“Of course this is a loss for Iraq,” Taner Yildiz told reporters, referring to the Baghdad-controlled pipeline, which has been pumping way below its 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of capacity.
Attempts to repair the pipeline have been thwarted by repeated incidents of violence against repair worker crews.
“We have decided to stop all repair operations in Ain Al Jahash until we can be sure that our crews won’t get killed,” a senior official of Iraq’s North Oil Company told Reuters.
The violence in the region has led many to question the Iraqi government’s assertion that the pipeline will be ready to resume transportation of oil in the near future.
The pipeline has a capacity of over 1.5 million barrels per day, but in 2013 an average of only 300,000 bpd was sent through the pipeline after it was repeatedly sabotaged by militants.
Maintenance crews have refused to return to the area, where five of their colleagues were murdered earlier this year, meaning that the pipeline remains unusable. So far, security forces have been unable to regain control of the area or guarantee the safety of any work crews in the area.
“It is impossible for us to control it fully. It would take a whole army with tanks and jets to hold the ground,” a senior security official told Arabian Business. Source: Oil & Gas Middle East