A Year after Iraq-Türkiye Pipeline Halt, No Progress to Resume Flows

A worker checks the valve gears of pipes linked to oil tanks at Türkiye's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which is run by state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS), some 70 km (43.5 miles) from Adana February 19, 2014. REUTERS
A worker checks the valve gears of pipes linked to oil tanks at Türkiye's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which is run by state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS), some 70 km (43.5 miles) from Adana February 19, 2014. REUTERS
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A Year after Iraq-Türkiye Pipeline Halt, No Progress to Resume Flows

A worker checks the valve gears of pipes linked to oil tanks at Türkiye's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which is run by state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS), some 70 km (43.5 miles) from Adana February 19, 2014. REUTERS
A worker checks the valve gears of pipes linked to oil tanks at Türkiye's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which is run by state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS), some 70 km (43.5 miles) from Adana February 19, 2014. REUTERS

A year after the closure of the Iraq-Türkiye oil pipeline, the conduit that once handled about 0.5% of global oil supply is still stuck in limbo as legal and financial hurdles impede the resumption of flows, three sources told Reuters.

About 450,000 barrels per day of crude once flowed through Iraq's northern oil export route via Türkiye, and its closure has led to the loss of roughly $11 billion to $12 billion for Iraq, the Association of the Petroleum Industry of Kurdistan (APIKUR) estimates.

A restart is not being discussed at the moment, one of the sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Ankara halted flows on March 25, 2023, after an arbitration ruling found it had violated provisions of a 1973 treaty by facilitating oil exports from the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan without the consent of the Iraqi federal government in Baghdad.

The court ordered Ankara to pay Baghdad $1.5 billion in damages for unauthorized exports between 2014 and 2018. A second ongoing arbitration case covers the period from 2018 onwards.

Meanwhile, Iraq owes Türkiye minimum payments as long as the pipeline is technically operational - estimated by consultancy Wood Mackenzie at around $25 million per month - as part of the treaty, in theory providing an incentive to restart flows.

Also key to any restart deal are the international oil companies operating in the Kurdistan region, who were forced to halt exports as a result of the pipeline closure. Instead, they can only sell oil locally in Kurdistan at a significant discount.

With more than $1 billion collectively owed in overdue payments for oil delivered between October 2022 and March 2023, according to APIKUR, the group continues to push for compensation in line with their contracts.

The companies have also collectively lost more than $1.5 billion in direct revenue since the closure, the group said.

Despite several meetings, neither APIKUR nor its members have received any formal proposals or agreements from Iraqi or Kurdish officials that would lead to a resumption of exports, an APIKUR spokesperson said.



Israeli Forces Deepen Rafah Invasion, Kill 17 in Central Camps

A man pulls a cart loaded with salvaged wood alongside another pushing a bicycle loaded with bags along a street in the eastern part of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on June 14, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
A man pulls a cart loaded with salvaged wood alongside another pushing a bicycle loaded with bags along a street in the eastern part of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on June 14, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
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Israeli Forces Deepen Rafah Invasion, Kill 17 in Central Camps

A man pulls a cart loaded with salvaged wood alongside another pushing a bicycle loaded with bags along a street in the eastern part of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on June 14, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
A man pulls a cart loaded with salvaged wood alongside another pushing a bicycle loaded with bags along a street in the eastern part of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on June 14, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday killed at least 17 Palestinians in two of the Gaza Strip's historic refugee camps and Israeli tanks pushed deeper into the enclave's southern city of Rafah, residents and medics said.

Residents reported heavy bombardments from tanks and planes in several areas of Rafah, where more than a million people had taken refuge before May. Most of the population has fled northwards since then as Israeli forces invaded the city.

"Rafah is being bombed without any intervention from the world, the occupation (Israel) is acting freely here," a Rafah resident and father of six told Reuters via a chat app.

Israeli tanks were operating inside Tel Al-Sultan, Al-Izba, and Zurub areas in Rafah's west, as well as Shaboura at the heart of the city. They also continued to occupy the eastern neighborhoods and outskirts as well as the border with Egypt and the vital Rafah border crossing.

"There are Israeli forces in most areas, there is heavy resistance too and they are making them pay dearly but the occupation is not ethical and they are destroying the city and the refugee camp," the resident said.

Palestinian health officials said one man was killed in the morning by Israeli fire on the eastern side of Rafah. Medics said they believed many others had been killed in the past days and weeks but rescue teams could not reach them.

The Israeli military said it was continuing "precise, intelligence-based activity" in Rafah, killing many Palestinian gunmen over the past day in close-range combat and seized weapons. The air force struck dozens of targets across the Gaza Strip in the past day, it added.

In the central Gaza Strip, two separate Israeli air strikes on two houses killed 17 Palestinians in Al-Nuseirat and Al-Bureij, two designated refugee camps that are home to families and descendants of people who fled to Gaza in the 1948 war around the creation of Israel, medics said.

"Every more hour of delay, Israel kills more people, we want a ceasefire now," said Khalil, 45, a teacher from Gaza, now displaced with his family in Deir Al-Balah city in the central Gaza Strip.

"Enough of our blood, I say it to Israel, America, and our leaders too. The war must stop," he told Reuters via a chat app.

The Israeli military statement did not comment directly on the 17 deaths but said forces continued to operate against militant factions in central Gaza areas.

The commander of an Islamic Jihad sniper cell was killed by an Israeli warplane, and troops also "eliminated" a militant cell, it said.

The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad said fighters confronted Israeli forces in combat zones with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs, and have in some areas detonated pre-planted explosive devices against army units.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The offensive has left Gaza in ruins, killing more than 37,400 people, according to its health authorities, and left much of the population homeless and destitute.

Since a week-long truce in November, repeated attempts to arrange a ceasefire have failed, with Hamas insisting on a permanent end to the war and full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Netanyahu refuses to end the war before Hamas is eradicated and the hostages are freed.