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Iraq begins talks with Turkey to resume oil exports

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Iraq’s oil minister Hayan Abdel-Ghani will visit Turkey to discuss issues including the resumption of oil exports through the Ceyhan oil terminal.

Iraqi oil minister will meet his Turkish counterpart to discuss energy issues, on top of which is the resumption of Iraq’s northern oil exports via Turkey’s Ceyhan port, said an oil official.

Turkey halted Iraq’s 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of exports through the northern Iraq-Turkey pipeline on March 25 after an arbitration ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris.

Iraq filed for arbitration in 2014 with the ICC over Turkey’s role in facilitating oil exports from Iraqi Kurdistan without the consent of the federal government in Baghdad.

Iraq’s federal government says its state-owned marketed Somo is the only party authorised to manage crude exports through Ceyhan.

Iraq said that by transporting and storing oil from Kurdistan and loading it on tankers in Ceyhan without Baghdad’s approval, Ankara and Turkish state energy company Botas violated provisions of an Iraq-Turkey pipeline agreement signed in 1973.

Turkey wants to negotiate regarding the size of damages it was ordered to pay in the arbitration ruling and also seeks clarification on other open arbitration cases.

“Iraq’s oil minister is in Turkey to discuss obstacles delaying the resumption of oil exports and how to resolve lingering issues,” said an oil ministry official who is close to the Iraqi northern oil exports operations.

The ICC ordered Turkey to pay Baghdad damages of around $1.5 billion for unauthorised exports by the Kurdistan regional government between 2014 and 2018.

“Damages ordered by the arbitration ruling and the valid arbitration cases which are still opened against Ankara will be at the heart of the discussions,” said the official.