Kur­dis­tan Re­gion starts pump­ing Kirkuk oil

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

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.

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