TEHRAN (PEDEC) _ Iran expects to sign a contract with Iraq within the next few days based on which it would swap the country’s oil produced in its Kirkuk province with equal amounts in the Persian Gulf.
The announcement was made by Iran’s Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh who said the agreement would be a strategic one.
Zangeneh stated that the agreement would envisage transferring Kirkuk oil to a refinery in Iran’s western province of Kermanshah through trucks.
After meeting his Iraqi counterpart Jabbar al-Luaibi, the minister pointed out that the volume of oil trucked inside Iran would gradually increase to as high as 60,000 barrels per day (bpd).
“What is important is to get this off the ground,” he siad on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna on Thursday.
“This is a strategic connection between Iran and Iraq.”
The Iranian minister further emphasized that a pipeline would also be constructed to facilitate transferring Iraqi oil into Iran.
The pipeline, he emphasized, would be below 200 kilometers on either side of the border and would take two years to be constructed.
“The proposal currently is to take the oil to (Iran’s) Fanni border point and the oil can be transferred both to Iran’s northern refineries and the southern export terminals” Zangeneh said.
Iran and Iraq signed a basic agreement in February that envisaged exporting Iraqi oil through the Iranian territory – a scheme that would be meant to minimize Baghdad’s reliance on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to export its oil through a pipeline to Turkey’s Ceyhan.