Ankara: Turkey has begun exporting oil supplies from Iraqi Kurdistan to international markets, its energy minister said today.
“The oil shipment started at 10 pm local time (1900 GMT) yesterday from the Ceyhan port” in southern Turkey, Taner Yildiz told reporters.
Iraq has some of the world's largest deposits of oil and gas, and the central government in Baghdad insists it has the right to develop and export the country's natural resources.
Since the US-led invasion in 2003, Baghdad has been at loggerheads with the energy-rich autonomous northern Kurdish region, which has sought to sign deals with foreign firms and export without the consent of the central government.
The exports through Turkey could raise tensions between the Kurds and Baghdad after the April 30 elections in which the country's Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki emerged the biggest winner.