Iraq’s northern Kirkuk oilfield could be operational within the next few weeks, stated a US Army Corps of Engineers representative. The 900,000-barrel-per-day oilfield was sealed off by US forces on Friday, reported Reuters.
The US army confirmed that Kirkuk had been fully operational up until Thursday. Forecasts set output at approximately 330,000 to one million bpd by the beginning of July. However, a recommencement of exports from Kirkuk is conditional to the approval of an interim authority in Baghdad and the United Nations (UN).
Kirkuk has long been contested for its petroleum wealth in a region ripe with ethnic territorial disputes. Located 250 kilometers north of the capital, Kirkuk was seized by US-backed Kurdish fighters last Thursday. The oilfield sits just outside the Kurdish enclave set up in northern Iraq after the 1992, prompting many Kurds to request control over the reserves. Under the UN oil-for-food program, Iraq's Kurds were allotted 13 percent of the country's oil revenues.
Neighboring Turkey has expressed repeated disapproval of Iraqi Kurdish control of Kirkuk, fearing that it could advance the creation of an independent Kurdish state. Such a development could instigate Turkish Kurdish rebels to join the movement. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )