Iraq invites bids for new oil pipeline


A member of the Iraqi government forces walks next to a pipeline at the Bay Hassan oil field, west of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, on October 19, 2017 Photo: AFP

Iraq's oil ministry on Sunday called for bids for the construction of a pipeline to allow oil exports to resume from the northern province of Kirkuk to neighbouring Turkey.

The pipeline is to run for 350 kilometres (200 miles) and have a capacity of more than a million barrels per day, the ministry said.

It is to replace one built in the 1980s that was damaged in attacks by the Islamic State jihadist group.

Iraq had exported 250,000 to 400,000 barrels per day through that pipeline before IS jihadists swept across large parts of the country and neighbouring Syria in 2014.

The new pipeline will replace a section of the route from oil-rich Kirkuk province, under Baghdad's control since October, to the Mediterranean Turkish port of Ceyhan.

It will transport crude from the area of Baiji, in the province of Salaheddine to the south of Kirkuk, to the Fishkhabur border post with Turkey further north.

Foreign and domestic companies have a month to bid for the project, a quarter of which will be awarded to local companies, the ministry said.

Iraqi government and paramilitary forces moved in to take over Kirkuk and its oilfields after Iraqi Kurds in September voted for independence in a controversial referendum opposed by Baghdad.

The Baghdad government has declared victory over IS in Iraq, while US-backed forces are pressing a campaign to expel the jihadists from eastern Syria.

Iraq's monthly oil revenues rose 27.4 percent in November compared with September, according to oil ministry figures published Sunday.

Oil income was $4.9 billion (4.1 billion euros) in September, when the price of a barrel of crude was hovering around $50. That rose to $6.2 billion in November on slightly higher sales, as crude prices topped $57 per barrel.