Turkey denies ‘Kurdish oil sale’ / By Steve Marshall – upstream

 18 February 2014 – Turkey’s energy minister has denied reports that a sale has been carried out of Kurdish oil being shipped through a new pipeline as renewed talks between Kurdistan and Iraq this week to resolve a dispute over regional exports were reported to have failed.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) started pumping oil through the recently opened route to Turkey last month, saying it was looking to sell 2 million barrels in January, with sales targeted to increase to 12 million barrels per month by year-end.

However, its independent export bid has been stymied by Baghdad’s insistence that all exports must be handled by state-run oil marketing company Somo.

The central government has warned foreign companies buying Kurdish oil in Turkey they would be liable to legal action while also threatening to sue Ankara and cut the semi-autonomous region’s share of the national budget if it carried out crude exports without federal consent.

A report this week in Turkey’s Daily Milliyet newspaper quoted anonymous Kurdish sources as saying the first batch of Kurdish oil, worth $90 million, had been sold through  Singapore’s Trans Petroleum Company.

However, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz rejected claims that any Kurdish oil had been sold through Turkey.

“If there will be a sale, it will be with the knowledge of Baghdad and its revenues will be conveyed to them. We always say this is not Turkey’s oil, it is Iraq’s,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Taner acknowledged that 425,000 barrels of oil supplied from Kurdistan fields – including DNO International-operated Tawke – had been received through the pipeline in the Turkish port of Ceyhan but stressed none would be sold unless an agreement was in place between Baghdad and Erbil.

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani led a delegation to Baghdad this week to meet Iraqi counterpart Nuri al-Maliki for a fifth round of talks on Monday aimed at resolving the impasse.

However, the pair again failed to reach an agreement, despite initial optimism of a breakthrough, while pledging to continue talks to resolve their differences, Kurdish publication Rudaw reported.

A source was quoted by Iraqi news agency AIN as saying: “The Kurdish delegation adheres to its demands over exporting oil to Turkey and sending its revenues to the Kurdish treasury and rejected the conditions of the central government over exporting the oil through Somo and other points set earlier.”

One industry source told Reuters he foresaw a breakthrough “in a week or two”, adding: “If it takes any longer than that, there is a problem.”

While Turkey maintains an export agreement must be in place, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated Ankara’s commitment to a multi-billion dollar energy deal with Kurdistan struck last year.

The landmark pact paves the way for development of the infrastructure for Kurdistan to export 2 million barrels per day of oil to world markets and at least 10 billion cubic metres per year of gas to Turkey. – http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article1352560.ece