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Revenue cut by pipeline attacks, Kurdish government says

Semiautonomous regional government says it can not pay for security operations.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Revenue cut by pipeline attacks, Kurdish government says
Kurdish government of Iraq says salaries for forces combating terrorism may be curbed following attacks on a key oil pipeline running north to a Turkish sea port. UPI/Mohammed al Jumaily | License Photo

ERBIL, Iraq, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The Kurdish government said theft and sabotage targeting an oil pipeline running to the Turkish sea port of Ceyhan has cost it around half a billion dollars.

A section of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline, running from northern Iraq to Turkish ports, was bombed in southern Sirnak province in Turkey in late July. The pipeline has a maximum capacity of around 400,000 barrels of oil per day and serves as a main artery for the export of oil from the Kurdish north of Iraq.

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The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources said attacks, as well as pilfering, on the pipeline are a threat to the welfare of its constituents.

"The estimated revenue loss to the Kurdistan Regional Government caused by such attacks is $251 million," the ministry said in a statement. "This is in addition to the $250 million damage to KRG finances caused by the explosion on the pipeline at the end of July, making total losses in the period from July 1-Aug. 17 of $501 million."

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The Turkish government blamed the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Kurdish initials PKK, for the attacks. The PKK operates along the northern border with Iraq and the southern border of Turkey.

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Turkey in July called for an emergency meeting of NATO to address the spike in regional violence. The alliance said terrorism poses a direct threat to security of NATO members and members of the international community.

The Kurdish government said exports through pipeline to the Turkish sea port of Ceyhan are a main source of revenue for the government. Without the revenue, the government said it can not pay for the salaries for the region's security force known as Peshmerga.

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Last month, Norwegian energy company DNO International was joined its British counterpart Gulf Keystone Petroleum in offering assurances about the security of operations in the Kurdish north of Iraq.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum trucks crude oil across the border to Turkey for injection into a pipeline to the sea port of Ceyhan.

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