Iraqi Forces Advance, Kirkuk Oil Output set to Double Up
The Iraqi Government has vowed to maintain continuity in production and exports from Northern Iraq. This comes one day after an advance by federal forces removed Kurdish troops controlling key parts of the disputed oil region, with the Iraqi army taking control on Tuesday of the last two oilfields in Kirkuk, the Bai Hassan and Avanah fields, Reuters reports. The flow of oil exports from northern Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan has fallen to 510,000 b/d from a normal rate of about 600,000-650,000 b/d but is likely to return to normal levels soon, as the Kurdish Regional Government is not expected to cause disruptions to the export flow since it would bare the financial impact.
Meanwhile, Iraq has suggested plans to contract a foreign oil company to almost double Kirkuk’s production capacity to over 1M b/d, which compares to current production of 600,000 b/d. At present, all the fields in the region are under government control with Iraq warning Kurdish authorities with potential legal action in case they choose to cause disruptions to Kirkuk oil exports.