Talks to restart Iraq oil exports via Turkish pipeline ongoing: Iraq source

Talks to restart Iraq oil exports via Turkish pipeline ongoing: Iraq source
Talks to resume operations on an Iraqi-Turkish oil pipeline are ongoing, after a six-month stoppage.
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Iraqi-Turkish oil pipeline plans to resume are still ongoing [Getty]

Talks to restart Iraqi oil exports via a crude oil pipeline that runs through Turkey are still ongoing, an Iraqi oil official told Reuters, one day after Turkey said operations would start again this week following a near six-month stoppage.

"We have further meetings soon and things will be more clear on how serious is Turkey to show some flexibility," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic.

Turkey's Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar had said on Monday that Turkey would resume operating the pipeline this week while speaking on a panel at the ADIPEC energy conference in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi.

Iraq has not made an official comment on the matter.

Ankara halted flows on Iraq's northern oil export route about six months ago after an arbitration ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ordered Ankara to pay Baghdad damages for unauthorised exports by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) between 2014 and 2018.

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Turkey later started maintenance work on the pipeline that contributes about 0.5% of global crude supply. Baghdad and Ankara agreed to wait until a maintenance assessment on the pipeline, which goes through a seismic zone, was complete to restart flows while still engaging in a legal battle on arbitration awards.

"We’re still in the middle of ongoing talks and predicting when oil flow could be resumed depends on how positive the results will be around sticking issues," the official said, adding: "Also if Turkey is willing to hold off on its demands and allow oil exports to restart without setting preconditions."

Sources have told Reuters that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is likely to visit Baghdad in October to resolve the issue.

In April, Iraq petitioned a U.S. federal court to enforce the ICC arbitration award.

Ankara is seeking a halt to this U.S. litigation and a lack of progress on resolving this issue was one of the reasons behind the postponement of a planned August visit by Erdogan, sources have said.