Iraq is preparing to turn most of Kirkuk’s oilfield production into domestic refineries in the future, as the conflict with the Kurdish authorities continues over the use of a pipeline to export crude to Turkey, an Iraqi official said on Monday.
Kirkuk’s production stopped in mid-October, with Iraqi forces taking out Kurdish fighters from Kirkuk and taking control of oil fields in the north.
The transfer of Kirkuk crude to the Doura refinery near Baghdad and the Baiji refinery north of the Iraqi capital will help provide more oil for export from the south, the official told Reuters.
The official said on condition of anonymity that some of Kirkuk’s crude will be transported “in the near future” on trucks to the Kermanshah refinery at the rate of 30 thousand barrels per day.
Control of Kirkuk, a region that has been under Kurdish control since 2014, was part of measures adopted by the Iraqi government in response to a referendum on secession that took place in northern Iraq in September.
Kirkuk lies outside the official borders of semi-autonomous Kurdistan and uses its fields to pump about half of the crude delivered by a pipeline through the territory controlled by the territorial government to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea.
Fields are being pumped into the Kurdistan region of Iraq for the second half.
Last week it announced crude flows through the pipeline amounted to about 270 thousand barrels per day. Before the crisis, the volume of inflows amounted to 600 thousand barrels per day, equivalent to about 17 percent of Iraq’s total exports.
Iraq, the second largest producer of crude in OPEC after Saudi Arabia, exports most of its crude output from the south.
The Iraqi official said that the Kurds refused to hand over the Iraqi authorities Khormala reservoir, which is part of the geological formation of the Kirkuk oil basin, but it is located geographically within the territory of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq.
He said the government wanted Khormala to be under the control of the state-run Oil Company of the North, just like the rest of Kirkuk.

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