Where Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Energy Affairs and Minister of Petroleum Hayan Abdul Ghani revealed that the Turkish authorities had been informed of the resumption of export operations from the northern port – the port of Ceyhan – as early as Saturday.
The ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the Iraqi oil marketing company “SOMO” had informed the Turkish company BOTAS to resume export and loading operations, starting from Saturday, May 13, 2023.
The statement confirmed: “The completion of the conclusion of contracts with international companies for the sale and marketing of crude oil from the Turkish port of Ceyhan, according to the mechanisms adopted by the Iraqi oil marketing company SOMO”.
Turkish electoral factor
Observers believe that due to concern over the Turkish elections, the response to Iraq’s demand to resume pumping oil from the Kurdistan region through Turkey will be delayed after the dust from the presidential race settles and that the nature of the new orientations and the approaches of the winner of the presidential race for various files and regional files, including the oil file of Iraqi Kurdistan, become clear, which increases the cost of the loss suffered by Iraq in the following the cessation of the sale of approximately 500,000 barrels of oil per day.
Opinion of the Ministry of Petroleum
A spokesperson for the Iraqi Oil Ministry, Asim Jihad, said in an interview with “Sky News Arabia Economy”:
- We have informed the Turkish authorities of our willingness to start pumping and loading oil from the region via Turkey, and we are awaiting the response from the Turkish side, which has not yet arrived.
The international decision was clear in the need for the company “SOMO” to be the only party authorized to pump Iraqi oil through Turkey, and the international court imposed a fine on it in the order of one billion and $800 million, and Ankara also had claims of up to $500 million, and the court also approved that.
Thus, Iraq is committed to the decision and has completed its technical and contractual procedures to resume oil pumping operations and awaits the commitment and approval of the Turkish side, since Iraq is concerned with the stopping pumping and also Turkey, which benefits from the royalties and the exploitation of the port.
Export rates, if they begin, will be around half a million barrels of oil per day, and we hope to receive a positive response to serve the interests of both countries.
The language of common interests
In turn, Azad Ahmed, a journalist expert in Turkish affairs, says in an interview with “Sky News Arabia Economy”:
- The issue of re-exporting oil from the region via Turkey will remain in abeyance, possibly for weeks and months, especially if opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu wins the presidency, as that will undoubtedly change many policies and orientations of Ankara, in particular in Iraq and Syria.
The entire agreement governing this export may be reviewed and amended, or new terms and requirements may be put in place, even if current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins another presidential term.
Therefore, Baghdad has no choice but to pressure and address Ankara in the language of common interests again in the coming period, since the daily volume of Iraqi oil revenues flowing through Turkey’s port of Ceyhan is valued at around $35 million, revealing the enormity of Iraq’s loss as sales have been suspended for more than 50 days.
The oil deal
On April 4, an agreement was signed between Baghdad and Erbil, in the presence of the Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani and the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Masrour Barzani, concerning the resumption of the sale of oil from the region under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum and the national oil company SOMO.
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