Turkey wishes to increase capacity of Turko-Iraqi oil pipeline
In an effort to boost trade with Iraq, Turkey will seek to increase the capacity of a pipeline that carries Iraqi oil
to a Turkish port, State Minister Ahmet Cemil Tunc told recently.
The pipeline running from the Iraqi Kirkuk oilfields to the port of Yumurtalik can carry 71 million tons (497 mmb) of oil per year. The pipeline, shut down after the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, came back on line in December under a U.N.-approved oil-for-food deal.
Tunc also said Turkey planned to build a second gate on the Iraqi border to ease the traffic flow, which has increased since the oil began flowing again. He did not say where the second entry point would be built. The existing gate, Habur, is overcrowded with trucks from Turkey transporting food and other supplies to northern Iraq and returning with cheap Iraqi gasoline to resell at home. The gasoline trade at Habur violates U.N. sanctions but is tolerated by the United Nations because Turkey complains of losses from the embargo. Turkey wants to increase border trade with Iraq to help its economy, crippled by the U.N. embargo on Iraq.
Turkey has lost an estimated $ 27 bn from blocked trade and the closure of the oil pipeline. But Tunc said Sunday that Turkey's losses amount to some $ 60 bn with the side affects of the embargo. Trade between the two countries currently stands at $ 200 million. It was around $ 2 billion before the Kuwait invasion.