Iraq's Baiji Refinery repairs to take at least a year

By Reuters

Sep 04, 2014 11:27 AM EDT

Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami on Thursday said it would take more than a year to repair the Baiji Refinery after it was damaged in a series of attacks by Islamic State militants since June.

The group, formerly known as ISIS, has seized vast swathes of territory in northern Iraq in a series of offensives in recent months, and has repeatedly tried to seize and hold the Baiji Refinery, Iraq's largest.

"After the ISIS attack it will take at least a year for the Baiji Refinery to be repaired," Hawrami said in a speech during an energy conference in Istanbul.

The Baiji Refinery was producing around 170,000 barrels per day before it was closed due to violence, a senior Iraqi official said in June. Iraq's domestic daily consumption is estimated at 600,000 bpd.

The Iraqi federal pipeline connecting Kirkuk with the Turkish port city of Ceyhan, would be unable to transport oil for years to come after being sabotaged, Hawrami added.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) began exporting oil in May via its independent pipeline, which links to the federal Iraqi pipeline at the Turkish border, and has not been affected by sabotage.

On Thursday Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said total exports of Kurdish oil since May had reached 10 million barrels, and that $188 million had been paid into Turkish Halkbank by the Kurdish authorities.

The KRG's decision to ship oil independently has met strong objections from the beleaguered central government in Baghdad, which sees itself as the sole authority on Iraqi oil.

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