As Iraq exports most of its crude oil production, the Iraqi government is trying to diversify its oil export outlets in a bid to avoid any damage that could result from the tense security situation in the Gulf region.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said in a press conference July 9 said that the government was considering export routes through Syrian and Jordanian territory, and added that Baghdad is “worried about the current events in the Strait of Hormuz and their potential impact on the Iraqi economy.”
Last month, Iraq’s production of crude oil reached 3.52 million barrels per day exported through the port of Basra, situated on the Persian Gulf, and the pipeline extending from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
Iraq and Jordan agreed in February to activate the agreement to extend an oil pipeline with a capacity of 2 million barrels per day from Basra to the Jordanian port of Aqaba.
Some reports also point to Baghdad’s intention to build a new pipeline to Turkey to replace the current pipeline, which is subject to ongoing acts of vandalism.
Assem Jihad, a spokesman for the Ministry of Oil, told Al-Monitor, “The ministry is considering the extension of an Iraqi oil pipeline through Syrian territory to the Mediterranean Sea, and is in the process of studying the economic feasibility of the project and the appropriate geographical and security conditions.”
He said the idea had been proposed in 2004 but delayed due to unstable security conditions in both countries.
As for the oil pipeline to Jordan, Jihad said, “The project was voted upon by the Council of Ministers after its implementation was agreed upon with Oman and 1 million barrels of Iraqi oil will reach the port of Aqaba every day. We are currently studying investment offers from international companies that will establish the pipeline in return for a percentage that will be deducted for each exported barrel.”
Asked why Iraq chose Syria and Jordan, he said, “The goal is to increase Iraqi export outlets and find markets for the increasing oil production. This has nothing to do with the security situation in the Gulf. The construction of the pipeline will take four to five years, and by the time it is ready, the situation might have changed.”