Kurds eye oil pipeline to Turkey

May 22, 2012 at 8:36 AM

ERBIL, Iraq, May 22 (UPI) -- Despite tensions between the Kurdish and Iraqi governments, officials at an energy summit in northern Iraq say export pipelines could reach Turkish ports.

Kurdish Oil Minister Ashti Hawrami told delegates an an energy conference in the northern capital Erbil that a pipeline expected to carry around 1 million barrels of Kurdish oil to the Turkish border could be completed by the end of 2013.

"We envisage the building of a new pipeline taking Kurdistan's oil, particularly the heavier component part to Ceyhan," he was quoted by al-Jazeera as saying.

Iraq lacks comprehensive laws governing key parts of the oil sector. Baghdad has said any unilateral energy deals made by the Kurdish government to the north are illegal.

Hawrami, however, said Kurdish ambitions were within the letter of the law so long as any revenue goes to the Iraqi Central Bank.

"When we say oil from Kurdistan, it's Iraqi oil," he said. "There is no difference between Iraqi oil or Basra oil from Kurdistan."

Turkish officials in attendance expressed similar sentiments.

Iraq later this month is expected to hold its fourth international licensing round for oil and natural gas fields.

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