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Kurdish oil secured, Norwegian company says

DNO: Turkish violence yet to spill over into Kurdish oil operations.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Norwegian energy company DNO says it's still working as normal in northern Iraq despite the bombing of a pipeline running north to a Turkish port. File Photo by UPI/Mohammed al Jumaily
Norwegian energy company DNO says it's still working as normal in northern Iraq despite the bombing of a pipeline running north to a Turkish port. File Photo by UPI/Mohammed al Jumaily | License Photo

OSLO, Norway, July 30 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company DNO International said Thursday its oil operations in the north of Iraq were isolated from violence raging across the border in Turkey.

The company said operations at its Tawke oil field in the Kurdish north of Iraq "continued uninterrupted during this week's shut down of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline in Turkey, given the flexibility to redirect volumes from exports to local sales."

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Ankara confirmed Wednesday that a section of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline, running from northern Iraq to Turkish ports, was bombed in southern Sirnak province. The pipeline has a maximum capacity of around 400,000 barrels of oil per day and the bombing comes one day after an attack on a natural gas pipeline running through Turkey from Iran.

The Turkish government blamed the energy sector attacks on the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Kurdish initials PKK, which is accused of having ties with the group calling itself the Islamic State.

DNO said that, prior to the oil pipeline bombing, production from Tawke to date averaged about 157,000 bpd, of which the bulk was transferred to the Kurdish government. About 20,000 bpd was sold by DNO to the local market and another 3,500 bpd processed in a local Kurdish refinery.

The company said "it is closely tracking regional security developments and will take measures to secure personnel and facilities as necessary."

Members of NATO held an emergency meeting earlier this week at the request of Turkey to address security concerns.

DNO in early May completed a two-year investment program to double the number of wells in the Tawke prospect and improve pipeline capacity. Several companies pulled non-essential staff out of northern Iraq last year as a security precaution as the Islamic State threat increased, though DNO stood firm.

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