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Ankara eyes Iraqi oil export routes

ANKARA, Turkey, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Ankara approached Baghdad on the possibilities of extending agreements on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline for the next 20 years, officials said.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz announced he would travel to Iraq in October to discuss the terms of extending agreements for the export line, ArabianBusiness.com reports.

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At 600 miles, the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline is the largest crude oil pipeline dedicated to exports in Iraq. Its design capacity is 1.5 million barrels per day, though it has not maintained that level since the 1980s.

The northern pipeline infrastructure was the scene of many insurgent attacks and smuggling operations in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. That kept the line largely out of order from the invasion until late summer 2007.

The Turkish official added he was opposed to launching supplementary arteries from Iraq because Kirkuk-Ceyhan is adequate when it was operating at full capacity.

Though Kirkuk-Ceyhan operates currently at 18 percent capacity, there are plans to boost that level to as much as 1 million barrels per day in the coming year.

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