ANKARA: Turkey is ready to help Iraqi Kurdistan export its oil to world markets once oil storage tanks in the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan are full, Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Wednesday.
Once the tanks are full and there is an excess amount, "we would like this to be offered to world markets on behalf of Iraq," Yildiz said in an interview with Turkey's NTV Television.
"Regardless of the volumes, Iraqis will auction and sell this oil at world market prices."
"This could be done via Tupras or brokers in other countries," Yildiz added.
Oil flow from the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) pipeline via Turkey started in December and so far around 1.35 million barrels of oil have been stored in tanks at Turkey's southern port of Ceyhan.
The capacity of the three tanks at Ceyhan allocated for Kurdish oil is around 2.5 million barrels.
But exports of Kurdish oil have been held up due to slow progress in talks between the KRG in Arbil and the central government in Baghdad, who are at loggerheads over the payment method and sharing of Iraq's oil revenues.
Baghdad's withholding of funds to punish the Kurds for trying to export oil via the new pipeline has only added to the deadlock.
Looking to break the impasse, the semi-autonomous region last week announced that it will export 100,000 barrels of oil per day through a Baghdad-controlled federal pipeline from April 1.
"As a goodwill gesture the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has offered to make a contribution to Iraqi oil pipeline exports to give the negotiations the maximum chance of success," Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said in a statement.
The oil is to be exported via Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) and the revenues deposited in the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) account in New York. (Reuters)