Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Getting oil flowing again from the fields in Kirkuk in northern Iraq to a Turkish sea port is the first order of business, the Iraqi Oil Ministry said.
Representatives from the Turkish Ministry of Energy met in Baghdad on Sunday with their Iraqi counterparts and members for the Iraqi state oil marketing company. According to the Iraqi ministry spokesman Assim Jihad, oil in Kirkuk was high on the agenda.
"Restarting the Iraqi oil exportation from Kirkuk fields via Ceyhan port was the first issue [discussed,] " a ministry statement read.
Crude oil from northern Iraq flows primarily by truck and through a pipeline from territory controlled officially by the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government to a Turkish sea port. A second pipeline from Iraqi territory in the north could be used once it's rehabilitated, and British energy company BP suggested in October it was in broader talks with efforts in Kirkuk.
A BP spokesperson confirmed last week that Kirkuk was discussed during a late October meeting in Baghdad, but that no developments have occurred since then.
Iraqi forces in early October wrestled for control over oil fields in Kirkuk, a territory of dispute between the federal government and the semiautonomous KRG. The seizure followed a contentious referendum for independence in the Kurdish territories, which coincided more or less with the Iraqi liberation of northern territory from the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State.
Exports from September, the last full month for which the ministry provided data, were 97.2 million barrels, or an average of 3.24 million barrels per day. Exports from Kirkuk were not included in September figures.
Iraqi Oil Minister Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said a fifth terminal at the Basra export facility in the south could put the total capacity at 4.6 million barrels per day. The minister said the new terminal adds flexibility to Iraq's export potential.