Iraq to build new oil pipeline to Turkey

Iraq is to build a new pipeline to allow oil exports to resume from the northern province of Kirkuk to neighbouring Turkey, the oil ministry said Sunday.

Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaybi has ordered documents to be prepared towards building the new pipeline to "transport crude oil from Kirkuk's oilfields to the port of Ceyhan" in Turkey, a ministry spokesman said in a statement.

An older pipeline was "too damaged by attacks by Daesh terrorist gangs to be rehabilitated," Assem Jihad said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

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

The new pipeline is to stretch for around 250 kilometres (150 miles) from the area of Baiji, in the province of Salaheddine to the south of Kirkuk, to the Fishkhabur border post with Turkey further north.

Earlier this month, the oil minister said Iraq aimed to double the output of Kirkuk oilfields to one million bpd after retaking the province from Kurdish forces in October.

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.

Iraqi forces have driven IS fighters from all towns they once held in the country and are pressing a final push to flush them out from the western desert bordering Syria.