Repair work at the Syrian-Iraqi oil pipeline, closed since 1982, will be completed in two months, enabling the resumption of exports of Iraqi oil via Syrian ports, Iraqi trade minister Mahdi Saleh was quoted by Reuters as saying Friday.
He told Reuters in an interview following talks with Syrian oil minister Mohammed Maher Jamal that the start of exports would need approval by a special United Nations committee established as part of the oil-for-food program between Baghdad and the UN.
Iraqi oil industry sources were quoted by the agency as saying that the pipeline, intended to pump crude from the Iraqi Kirkuk oilfield to the Western Syrian Mediterranean port of Banias, would have an initial capacity of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd).
This would be increased gradually to reach the pipeline's original capacity of 1.2 million bpd at a later stage, they said.
"We discussed the outcome of repairs at the oil pipeline which pumps the Iraqi oil through Syria and other issues related to economic and commercial cooperation between the two brotherly states," Saleh said.
Syria and Iraq signed a deal in July 1998 to reopen the old pipeline and to build a new 1.4 million bpd parallel link after both states began a process of reconciliation following nearly two decades of animosity.
Both states decided three years ago to reopen their borders and to engage in economic and commercial cooperation.
Saleh told Reuters the United Nations would need to approve renewed deliveries pumping oil because of UN sanctions imposed on Baghdad since 1991.
He attacked the UN committee, saying Iraq had not received its fair share from the oil-for-food program.
Iraq has exported oil worth of $25 billion since the start of the program, but it has not received more than $6.5 billion worth of goods allowed by the deal," ArabicNews.com quoted Iraqi officials as saying Friday.
The agency added that Iraq signed about 100 contracts with 40 Arab and foreign countries in the framework of the 7th phase which lasts for 6 months of the oil for food program, which expires on June 10 and states to export 350 million barrels of oil, which is equal to 1.94 million barrels of oil daily - (Several Sources)
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