Turkey is ready to facilitate the sales of Kurdish oil to international markets,Turkey's energy minister said, as the volume of crude oil from the semiautonomousKurdish region of Iraq reached 1.8 million barrels in tanks at Turkey'sMediterranean export hub of Ceyhan.The flow of oil from northern Iraq resumed with a capacity of 100,000 barrels a day,Taner Yildiz said on Friday in the northwestern city of Bursa.Prime minister of Iraq's Kurdish administration, Nechirvan Barzani, said on Sundayhis government planned to start the selling of 1.5 million barrels of oil stored in theTurkish port of Ceyhan on May 2. The statement came just before Iraq'sparliamentary elections, which started on Wednesday."I think Mr. Barzani meant the consignment of the oil, not the sales, in hisstatement. The sales may begin within 3 days or a week," Yildiz said.Iraq's central government opposes the sale of the oil, saying it violates the federalconstitution and bypasses the national oil company, State Oil Marketing Company.
Baghdad also insists that oil revenues generated from the sales must be depositedin a fund at the JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, whereas theKurdish government and Ankara agreed that the revenues, estimated at around US$200 million, would be kept at Halkbank, Turkey's state-owned lender."The oil stockpiles belong to Iraq, and, of course, they will sell it themselves," Yildizsaid. "Turkey only facilitates the procedure and paves the way."He said the sales revenues would contribute to stability, growth and normalization
in post-elections Iraq.The tension between the central government and the semiautonomous Kurdishgovernment has remained strained over disagreements on the payment method andcontrol of oil shares in the country.
The tanks at the Ceyhan port, located in the southern province of Adana on theMediterranean coast, has a storage capacity of 2.5 million barrels of crude oil, whichflows via Kirkuk–Ceyhan Oil Pipeline. The pipeline, Iraq's largest crude oil exportline, carries oil from Iraq's oilfields in the Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk to Turkey.The oil flow through the pipeline is frequently hampered by armed attacks andtechnical breakdowns.