Nytt

Iraks karismatiske oljeminster Hussain Al-Sharistani kunngjorde tirsdag at Irak nå eksporterer 300.000 fat om dagen fra Kirkuk-feltene og til Middelhavsterminalen Ceyhan i Tyrkia. Det er planer om å øke til 500.000 fat om dagen via en ledning gjennom Syria. Ytterligere 300.000 fat raffineres lokalt.

Sharistani, som er atomfysisker og deltok i Saddams atomprogram, men ble kastet i fengsel og rømte mirakuløst, – sier de har dannet en egen sikkerhetsstyrke av lokale stammer som skal bevokte ledningene. Hvis Sharistani lykkes med å øke produksjonen vil det bety en vesentlig styrking av staten og dens inntektsgrunnlag. Faktisk må dette regnes som en stor fremgang for irakerne. Økt oljeproduksjon gir økt prestisje, og mulighet til økt sysselsetting og avlønning av soldater og politi.

Iraq’s oil minister said Tuesday that crude oil began to flow from his country’s northern oil-rich Kirkuk to a Turkish export terminal last week — for the first time since Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003.

«We’re pumping between 300,000 to 400,000 barrels a day of Kirkuk crude to the Turkish export terminal of Ceyhan,» Hussain al-Shahristani told Dow Jones Newswires in a telephone interview from Baghdad.

The pipeline — Iraq’s main export route from Kirkuk to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan — has been mostly closed because of constant sabotage since the U.S.-led war.

Two weeks ago, Iraq agreed with Syria to repair and subsequently reopen another key pipeline, a 550-mile-long link connecting Kirkuk and the Syrian port of Baniyas.

Once the Baniyas line — built in the 1950s but bombed by U.S. forces during the invasion that ousted Saddam — is reopened, Iraq would be using two terminals on the Mediterranean Sea.

Currently, Iraq exports nearly all its oil through the Persian Gulf.

Al-Shahristani told Dow Jones that Iraq’s current production capacity from its northern oil fields stands at 700,000 barrels a day, of which about 300,000 barrels a day are destined for a refinery in the nearby northern industrial city of Beiji for domestic use. The remainder is for export.

Iraqi crude oil flowing through Turkey