Syrian and Iraqi Officials Discuss Reversal of Oil Flow in Kirkuk-Baniyas Pipelines

Iraqi Minister of Commerce Atir Al-Ghurairi reported on vigorous efforts to develop economic cooperation with Syria, especially in the field of oil.

Al-Ghurairy confirmed in a statement to Sputnik that during a meeting he had with Syrian Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Firas Hassan Kadour, they exchanged views on initiating investment in the oil and energy industries of both countries by providing facilities for Iraqi companies wishing to invest in oil field in Syria, which, in turn, will ensure the resumption of operation of the Kirkuk-Baniyas oil pipeline connecting Iraqi oil wells with Syrian ports.

The Iraqi Commerce Minister said that restarting the Kirkuk-Banias oil pipeline would be critical for Syria and would help rid it of its current oil crisis, especially since most of its oil wells are out of control.

The Iraqi minister said that the Syrian-Iraqi oil pipeline is of exceptional importance for Iraq, given the high cost of exporting its oil abroad at the present time, explaining that the likely scenarios for pumping through the Kirkuk-Baniyas oil pipeline are focused on putting repairs on what has been destroyed in the Iraqi territory of Baghdad, and in return, the Syrian side undertakes to repair the damage to the pipeline on its territory.

And the minister pointed out that preliminary estimates show that restarting the pipeline requires maintenance operations at great financial cost, given the extensive damage it has suffered in recent years, whether in the Iraqi section or in Syria.

The construction of the Kirkuk-Baniyas Iraqi-Syrian export oil pipeline dates back to 1952 and was carried out by the British company BP after World War II, which had large oil investments in the two countries.

The Kirkuk-Baniyas oil pipeline has historically been operated intermittently and has been affected by developments in the region as a whole and internal changes in Syria and Iraq.

Work on the pipeline continued uninterrupted from its inception until 1980, when it ceased operation for an extended period from the early 1980s with the outbreak of the first Gulf War, to return to service in 1997, before being shut down again after the US invasion of Iraq . in 2003.

In 2010, the Kirkuk-Baniyas pipeline resumed for the third time, but this did not last long as a result of the systematic destruction that affected it under the attacks of international coalition aircraft during the period of ISIS control along sections of its routes in Syria and Iraq.

Although the aforementioned oil pipeline was shut down over 13 years ago, its importance is described as strategic, whether for Syria or Iraq. As for Iraq, the pipeline will reduce the cost of transporting and exporting oil, given that it is the shortest route to northern Iraqi oil fields across the Mediterranean. sea, which contain oil reserves estimated at 13 billion barrels, which is 12% of the total Iraqi crude oil reserves.

The Kirkuk-Banias oil pipeline also allows Iraq to benefit from Syrian refineries as an alternative to refineries targeted by the Iraqi government in distant countries, and will also help Iraq increase its daily oil production since the pipeline is designed for large export potential, especially since Iraq is working to increase production to 8 million barrels per day by 2027.

As for Syria, the Kirkuk-Banias line can help provide the oil products that the country needs today, it will become a source of energy insurance and will bring great benefits to Syrian ports, which means it will increase maritime traffic and stimulate economic movement.

Source: “Sputnik”

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