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From the Field

Kurdistan-Iran line needs Baghdad’s OK

ERBIL, May 17, 2016 – A senior Iranian official told Kurdish media on Tuesday that Iran is seeking federal approval for a possible pipeline route from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to neighbouring Iran, saying the project has yet to be sanctioned by Baghdad.

According to Iranian Deputy Consul General in Sulaymaniyah Ali Panahi, a pipeline “is still at the discussion stage.” Baghdad had not “given the green light to approve the project,” Rudaw quoted Panahi as saying.

 

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is seeking to diversify its exports routes in light of recent problems with acts of sabotage on Turkish soil. Pipeline outages have cost Erbil hundreds of millions of dollars this year alone. The sole dependency on Turkey for exports has also been called into question. “In case of any conflict with Turkey, whether military or political, Kurdistan will manage if it has access to a second export route,” Iraqi-Kurdish MP Arez Abdullah told local media on Tuesday.

More and more details about a possible pipeline route from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to Iran have been revealed in recent weeks. According to various reports, the pipeline should run from Koysinjaq in the Kurdistan Region and cross into Iran via the Iraqi-Iranian border crossing and/or the Parvez Khan crossing, onwards to Tabriz and Kermanshah, respectively.

Citing an April 5 memorandum of understanding between Iran and the KRG on the matter, Erbil’s representative to Iran Nadhim Dabbagh told Rudaw that initial exports would be in the range of 20,000-30,000 bopd, with a targeted capacity of 250,000 bopd. He also added that federal approval for the plan could be facilitated by granting Iran and Iraq control of the conduit and allowing Kirkuk oil to be exported via this route.

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