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By Ahmed Rasheed
BAGHDAD, Nov 16 (Reuters) - A Turkish energy delegation has met with Iraqi top oil officials in Baghdad to discuss issues including the resumption of Kirkuk oil exports via the Turkish port of Ceyhan, Iraq’s oil ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Exports from oilfields in Kirkuk have been on hold since Iraqi government forces took control of them from the Kurds last month in retaliation for a Kurdish referendum on independence which was widely opposed by Turkey, Iran and Western powers.
“A high level Turkish energy delegation met with senior oil officials, including officials from state-run SOMO, to discuss ways to restart Kirkuk oil exports,” the statement said.
Baghdad’s meeting was attended by senior officials from the Turkish energy ministry, state-owned energy company TPAO and Turkish pipeline operator Botas, according to the oil ministry.
“The two parties discussed financial and technical issues which delay Kirkuk oil exports resumption. The talks are to be completed in Ankara,” the statement said.
Iraqi oil officials accuse Kurdish authorities of not responding to requests made by the oil ministry to use the Kurdish pipeline to resume exports from Kirkuk.
Iraq needs at least three months to repair an old pipeline which was shipping Kirkuk crude to Ceyhan port in Turkey, SOMO has said. The main 600,000 bpd Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline had been offline since March 2014 following insurgent attacks. (Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)