What Happened: The Iraqi government is close to reaching an agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to resume oil exports from the Kirkuk area through a KRG-owned pipeline to Turkey and onward to the Turkish port of Ceyhan for export, the Financial Times reported Nov. 9.
Why It Matters: The Iraqi government is planning to increase its oil production to more than 5 million barrels per day in 2019. Resuming oil exports from Kirkuk could unlock an additional 200,000 to 400,000 barrels per day. More Iraqi oil production could raise pressure on Saudi Arabia and its allies to reverse their production increases. At OPEC's Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee meeting in December, Saudi Arabia could voluntarily decide to reduce production to the levels of early 2018.
Background: Crude oil exports from the Kirkuk region were suspended after the Iraqi government took control of the oil fields from Kurdish forces in October 2017. The KRG recently expanded its pipeline, which now has a capacity of 1 million barrels per day.
- Iraq: Kurdish Parliamentary Elections Lead to Drama in Baghdad (Oct. 2, 2018)
- Iraq: Officials Discuss Oil Export Deal With Kurdistan Regional Government (Jan. 16, 2018)
- Iraq: Operations in Kirkuk Come to an End (Oct. 18, 2017)