Syria eyes pipelines through Iraq

Jan. 27, 2011 at 9:23 AM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Damascus could invite investors to build oil and natural gas pipelines that would cross Syrian and Iraqi territory, the Syrian oil minister said.

A pipeline connecting Iraq and Syria through Kirkuk in northern Iraq to the Mediterranean port of Banias was closed in the 1970s because of political spats between the two countries. Opened again in 2000, the pipeline was shut down in 2003 after it was hit by U.S. airstrikes.

Baghdad wants to build and repair pipelines connected to its neighbors to handle the expected volumes of oil and natural gas under development in Iraq.

Most of Iraq's oil heads through Turkish ports currently and there are plans to upgrade existing export arteries. In terms of Syria, officials said new pipelines have been on the table for years, but there was new momentum building in Baghdad, the Platts news service reports.

Syrian Oil Minister Sufian Alao told al-Thawra newspaper in Damascus that the pipeline to Iraq was under repair and there were plans to link to the South Pars gas field in Iran using an overland route from Iraq.

Syria doesn't produce much natural gas and must rely on imports to meet demand.

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