London — Crude flows on the Iraq Kurdistan-Turkey pipeline resumed Monday after the key crude supply artery was closed for over a week for maintenance, trading and industry sources said.
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The pipeline, which connects the oil fields of semi-autonomous Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, was shut from September 29 to October 6 for repairs to the Turkish section, affecting flows of Kurdish KBT crude and Iraqi Kirkuk crude.
Sources said pipeline flows were back up at 400,000 b/d on Monday, after having averaged 500,000-550,000 b/d in recent months.
Kurdistan Regional Government's flows have recently been averaging around 430,000 b/d, with the remaining volumes coming from the federal Iraq-operated Kirkuk fields marketed by Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization.
The impact of this shutdown was seen on the Russian Urals complex, according to some traders.
"I think it [closure of the pipeline] helped to clear the Urals program," said one trader active in the Urals Mediterranean market.
The trader added that spot trading of Kurdish crude had been reduced due to this "hiccup" and this had triggered demand for Russian Urals crude, which is of similar medium sour quality.
A representative at BOTAS, which operates the Turkish section of the pipeline was unavailable for comment, while officials at KRG were unavailable for comment.
The federal government of Iraq restarted exports of Kirkuk crude through the Kurdistan-Turkey pipeline in mid-November after it agreed a tentative deal with KRG.
KRG's pipeline is owned 60% by Rosneft and 40% by Kurdish private firm KRG Group. Capacity was expanded to 1 million b/d in November, shortly before the new exports began.
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