One week after clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces, Iraq has once again begun to pump oil from Kirkuk.
The conflict in the region had forced production in parts of the second largest OPEC producer to cease, which contributed towards the recent hike in oil prices.
A source told Bloomberg that the flow rate had reached 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Wednesday, after Baghdad resumed pumping crude from Avana field in Kirkuk. The oil was transported through a pipeline controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which voted for independence in last month’s referendum, and sold through the Iraqi government’s main oil marketing company – SOMO.
Both the Avana and Bai Hassan oilfields near Kirkuk had been closed since 19th October, which has kept 275,000 bpd offline following government action to take control of North Oil Co. and Kurdish Kar Group, two KRG oil companies operating in the region.
Prior to the referendum, Baghdad had been set to continue its oil production rate at 600,000 bpd. However, since the conflict, exports from Northern Iraq have diminished by over 50 percent.
Following the arrival of Iraqi military forces around the sites, civilian workers were sent home and Oil Ministry engineers were sent in to replace computers and other essential equipment missing from the oil fields.
Last weekend, authorities said exports from the south of the country had increased by 200,000 bpd to make up for the shortfall from the north.