Turkey is seeking to increase the oil flow from a pipeline from Iraq to full capacity and has sent a technical delegation to its embargo-hit southern neighbor to look into the possibility, the head of Turkey's state-run oil company BOTAS said Wednesday.
"The energy minister (Cumhur Ersumer) gave orders a few days ago to make the pipeline ready for full operation," BOTAS chief, Gokhan Yardim. told the all-news NTV channel in live interview.
He added that a four-man BOTAS team was currently in Iraq inspecting pumping stations and oil holding tanks at Kirkuk, from where the pipeline runs to the Turkish-port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean.
The 986-kilometer (611-mile) twin pipeline, with an annual capacity of 71 million tons, was officially closed to operation in 1990 after the United Nations slapped a trade embargo on Baghdad for its invasion of Kuwait that year.
The pipeline was opened to limited deliveries in 1996 under UN-supervised oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq to export crude oil in return for essential goods.
"The pipeline is currently operating with a 60-percent capacity. Iraq is pumping an average of 1 million barrels of oil per day under U.N control and supervision," Yardim added.
In December last year, the UN Security Council lifted a ceiling on the dollar value of Iraq's oil exports and doubled the amount of spare parts it can import for the sanctions-hit oil industry to 1.2 billion dollars a year.
Iraq plans to raise output from its current level of around 2.6 million barrels per day, of which nearly two million are exported – ANKARA (AFP)
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