Kurdistan Region starts pumping Kirkuk oil
ties at Kirkuk and Bai Hassan on July 11, in a move denounced by Baghdad.
It was the first time the Kurds pumped oil from Bai Hassan field -- 55 kilometres (35 miles) northwest of the city Kirkuk and used to average 190,000 barrels per day -- since they claimed control of it on July 11, a senior source in the Iraqi North Oil company told AFP.
The Kurdistan regional government encountered some difficulties connecting Bai Hassan to the Kurdish-run Khormala Dome oil field, but will make another attempt on Friday, the official said.
"They are using a pipeline which was originally used to send crude from (Kurdistan), but they have now reversed it (to use it by the Kurdish region)," a senior oil official said, as quoted by Reuters news agency.
Around 20,000 to 25,000 barrels were being pumped daily, the official estimated.
The Kurds and their well-trained Peshmarga force moved into long- disputed areas -- including the oil-rich region of Kirkuk -- when federal forces retreated in the face of the militant onslaught.
Relations between Erbil and Baghdad have deteriorated in recent weeks as Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki struggles to contain a growing insurgency.
Kurdish lawmakers have withdrawn from central government meetings after Maliki accused the Kurds of providing a haven to terrorists. The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) then called on its members to prepare for a vote on independence.
The two sides remain locked in a long-running dispute over the allocation of state money and the KRG's right to sell oil independently of Baghdad.
Iraq's oil ministry reacted furiously, saying the Kurds should "support security forces in confronting terrorist groups rather than using the conditions to raid and occupy oilfields."
The ministry estimates that the two oilfields at Kirkuk and Bai Hassan have a joint production capability of 400,000 barrels a day.
Maliki has struggled to form a government since elections were held in April. The situation has become significantly more complicated, with Isis advancing and Iraqi Kurdistan threatening to break away. Kirkuk has long been sought by Iraq's Kurds as a capital city for a future state.