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The resumption of Iraqi oil exports from the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean was delayed due to "technical" problems between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq, according to government spokesman Basem Al-Awadi.
It has now been just over a month since Turkey ordered a halt to Iraqi Kirkuk Blend exports from Ceyhan. The decision came because of an international arbitration ruling that said Ankara had breached a 1973 pipeline agreement by allowing KRG oil to be exported without Baghdad's approval between 2014 and 2018.
The oil pipeline that runs from the Iraqi region of Kirkuk to Ceyhan is the only export route for the crude produced by the oil fields in northern Iraq. The Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government signed an interim agreement on April 4 that paves the way for the resumption of exports, but that has yet to materialize.
"The delay in resuming oil exports is strictly linked to technical procedures that await settlement in accordance with the legal framework," Iraqi government spokesman Basem Al-Awadi told Argus. Resolving these technical issues, he said, "will only take a short period of time".
He said that the Iraqi Federal Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) is in negotiations with "the companies responsible for exporting northern Iraq's crude," adding that the talks are "in line with the Iraqi Oil Ministry and SOMO's policy and official selling prices."
Al-Awadi said that Baghdad is in talks with the Turkish government. In response to a question about whether Iraq had received any guarantees from the Turkish side that crude oil exports from Ceyhan would resume when Baghdad and Erbil finally finalized their agreement, Al-Awadi said: “Turkish authorities asked for a short period of time to examine the oil pipelines to ensure that they did not suffer any damage.” Because of the recent devastating earthquakes."
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