Iraq Restores Important Diesel “Artery” Cut by the US 14 Years Ago

Iraq has restored an important element of oil and gas infrastructure which was destroyed by American troops 14 years ago, allowing diesel to again travel from the Dora Refinery in Baghdad to the south in Basra, by rail rather than road tanker.

In 2003, when the US invaded Iraq, the original pipeline was cut.

“This achievement will increase the amount of diesel fuel and other products transported from 1,000 to 4,000 cubic meters per day, which will reduce financial costs and environmental damage, as well as the negative impact on roads and bridges. It will also save time and effort,” said the Minister of Iraqi Oil, Jabbar al-Laibi.

To solve the problem of delivering oil to Basra from the Kirkuk oil fields, Baghdad had to be approached unconventionally. The central government of Iraq did not recognize the referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, and positioned troops in the province of Kirkuk, which was the main source of oil for the Kurds.

On leaving, Kurdish oil workers took with them important equipment, so halting production. Experts from Baghdad quickly managed to resume production, but still only one active export oil pipeline left Kirkuk – through Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

The pipeline that goes around the Kurdish territory was destroyed long ago, its restoration necessitating time and a large amount of money, for which Baghdad has already announced a tender.

In the meantime, Iraq has been sending “black gold” from Kirkuk to Iran in tanker trucks. Now with the rail line established, at the first stage, the Iranian oil refinery in Kermanshah will send 30,000 barrels a day, later to be expanded to 60 thousand barrels per day.

The agreement, signed by the Iraqi oil marketing company SOMO with the Iranian side, also provides that the Iranian side will supply oil in the same volume and of the same quality to Basra.

By Dimitri Dolaberidze

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