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Iraq to increase oil exports via Turkey

NEW YORK -- Iraq has concluded an agreement with Turkey to almost double its crude oil exports through the pipeline that links Kirkuk oilfields in Iraq to the Turkish port of Dortyol on the Mediterranean, the MidEast Report said in its current issue.

The 612-mile Turkish pipeline is the only remaining outlet for Iraqi crude exports with the Iraq-Iran war now in its third year.

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Under the agreement signed Dec. 5, the Kirkuk-Dortyol pipeline will increase its capacity to ship Iraqi crude to at least 1 million barrels a day from the current level of about 650,000 barrels a day, the New York-based newsletter specializing in Middle Eastern affairs said.

In talks earlier this month in Baghdad between Turkish and Iraqi officials, Iraq expressed interest in building a new pipeline across Turkey that would run parallel to the existing one and boost its oil revenues, the newsletter said.

Iraq exported about 3.5 million barrels a day before the war with Iran, which controls the Persian Gulf shipping route, broke out in September 1980.

The pact calls for the Kirkuk-Dortyol pipeline's capacity to be initially raised to 25 million tons a year and then to 49 million tons annually in the final stage, the publication said.

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Iraq will finance the expansion to the line, which is scheduled to be completed in April 1984. The estimated cost to Iraq will be $100 million.

Botas, a subsidiary of the Turkish state-owned petroleum company, and the Iraq National Oil Co. jointly own and operate the pipeline.

Since the Iraq-Iran war 'deliveries through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline have been on occasion disrupted by Iranian air raids on Iraqi oil installations in Kirkuk in northern Iraq and by Kurish terrorist bomb attacks on the pipeline in southeastern Turkey,' the newsletter said.

In April Syria shut down the Kirkuk-Banias pipeline, which had carried as much as 1.2 million barrels of Iraqi crude to export markets at peak capacity. Syria, however, had reduced the flow of Iraqi oil through the pipeline to 250,000 barrels a day early this year.

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