ANKARA, Turkey, April 17 (UPI) -- Converting a natural gas pipeline to an oil pipeline will allow for additional exports from the Kurdish region of Iraq, Genel Energy chief Tony Hayward said.
Genel Energy, an Anglo-Turkish company, said last week that it reached a test rate of 11,950 barrels of oil per day from its first of five exploration wells in the Chia Surkh discovery area in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.
Hayward, the Genel chief executive officer, told Bloomberg News that infrastructure is needed to complete a small section of a line that would convert an existing natural gas pipeline to an oil pipeline.
"They'll have that infrastructure by the middle of the year," he said.
Genel received permission Jan. 7 from the Kurdistan Regional Government to ship crude oil from the Taq Taq field by truck to Turkey. Export restrictions had been in place as a sign of growing frustration with the central Iraqi government over oil laws in the country.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said last week that he was ready to move ahead with pipeline construction after meeting with Kurdish leaders in Ankara in March.
Political disputes between the semiautonomous Kurdish government and the central Iraqi government over oil laws are seen as impediments to Iraq's oil potential.