Iraq Open for Bids to Build New Kirkuk-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline

Iraq’s oil ministry on Sunday called for bids for the construction of a pipeline to allow oil exports to resume from the northern province of Kirkuk to neighboring Turkey.

The pipeline is to run for 350km and have a capacity of more than a million barrels per day, the ministry said. The project will replace an older pipeline built in the 1980s that was damaged in attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

Foreign and domestic companies have a month to bid for the project, a quarter of which will be awarded to local companies, the ministry said. Iraq’s oil ministry set 24 January as a deadline for interested companies to submit letters of interest in building the new pipeline, Reuters reported.

Iraq had exported 250,000 to 400,000 barrels per day through that pipeline before IS swept across large parts of the country and neighboring Syria in 2014.

The new pipeline will replace a section of the route from oil-rich Kirkuk province, under Baghdad’s control since October, to the Mediterranean Turkish port of Ceyhan. It will transport crude from the area of Baiji, in the province of Salaheddine to the south of Kirkuk, to the Fishkhabur border post with Turkey further north.

The Iraqi government and paramilitary forces moved in to take over Kirkuk and its oilfields after Iraqi Kurds in September voted for independence in a controversial referendum opposed by Baghdad. The Baghdad government has declared victory over IS in Iraq, while U.S.-backed forces are pressing a campaign to expel the militants from eastern Syria.

Iraq’s monthly oil revenues rose 27.4 percent in November compared with September, according to oil ministry figures published on Sunday.

Oil income was $4.9bn in September when the price of a barrel of crude was hovering around $50. That rose to $6.2bn in November on slightly higher sales, as crude prices topped $57 per barrel.