(Photo credit: Delil Souleiman/AFP)
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq resumed oil exports through the Turkish pipeline on 9 February.
Exports had been suspended as a safety measure after a massive earthquake caused widespread destruction in southern Turkiye and northwest Syria on Monday.
Deaths from the 7.8 magnitude quake have now surpassed 20,000.
The natural resources ministry announced the resumption of oil exports to Turkiye on Tuesday evening, the Kurdish news agency, Rudaw reported.
The KRG began exporting oil via pipeline in June 2014. When ISIS militants invaded Mosul that month, KRG Peshmerga forces took advantage of the ensuing collapse of the Iraqi army and quickly moved to take control of oil-rich Kirkuk.
This gave KRG leaders control of the infrastructure to export oil to Turkiye via pipeline, independent of Iraq’s central government, boosting future Kurdish aspirations for independence.
Exporting Kurdish oil from Kirkuk proved controversial, as much of this oil was, in turn, immediately sold by Turkish traders to Israeli firms.
Forbes reported on 23 June 2014 that the sale of KRG oil to Israel had been confirmed, citing reports from Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Wall Street Journal showing that a tanker carrying oil from the Ceyhan port had docked in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
The Financial Times reported that by August 2015, roughly 77 percent of Israel’s oil supply was being imported from Iraqi Kurdistan via the Ceyhan port,
According to the Kurdish Draw Media, the KRG sold 38 percent of its oil to Israel in January 2023, with the remaining amounts being exported to Italy, China, Croatia, Taiwan, and Romania.
The KRG has repeatedly denied that it deals directly or indirectly with Israel, stating that oil cargoes often change hands several times before reaching their final destination.