Panel to study new oil pipeline between Iraq and Syria
Iraq and Syria have agreed to set up a technical committee to study plans to construct a new pipeline between the two neighbours, deputy oil minister Faez Shanin said in comments published Thursday.
"Technical problems with the existing pipeline, which was abandoned 20 years ago," mean a new link is necessary, Shahin told the weekly Al-Zawra. "The equipment has become obsolete and the length of time for which it can be used is finished."
Syria closed the pipeline linking northern Iraq's Kirkuk fields to the Syrian port of Banias on the Mediterranean in 1982 after siding with Iran in its 1980-1988 war against Iraq.
In defiance of the UN sanctions on Iraq, the pipeline was reopened in November, according to the Middle East Economic Survey. But Baghdad denied the report, saying only tests had been carried out.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday that Syria had pledged to put the pipeline under UN control because Damascus did not want to violate sanctions on Iraq, which prohibit Baghdad from exporting oil outside the auspices of the UN oil-for-food programme.
In January, Oil Minister Amer Rashid announced the plan to build a new oil pipeline because the existing pipeline built in 1953, with a capacity of 1.4 million barrels per day, is no longer usable. He said the new pipeline would be built in two phases, starting with the section inside Syria.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)