18/02/2012 10:33 BAGHDAD, Feb. 18 (AKnews) - The Iraqi government doubts the ability of the Kurdistan government (KRG) to export 170,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) through the Ceyhan pipeline this year.

Chief adviser in the Iraqi government Thamer Ghadban said the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will not be able to export the amount through the pipeline that connects Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean
due to underdeveloped oil fields and a lack of export capacities.

"Increasing the rate of export in the region needs the provision of pipes and pumps in addition to reducing the consumption of crude oil coming from the northern regions, particularly in the refinery of Beiji," he said.

"The KRG currently exports fewer than 100,000 barrels a day and it needs to develop the Nijma and Qayyara fields in order to export 170,000 bpd," he added.

Norwegian oil company DNO expects its production in the Kurdistan region to increase during the current year after the drilling of new wells and the increase of production capacity in the Tawki field. DNO said it has great plans for excavation in 2012. Eighteen wells are expected to be drilled and two of them are already underway.

In the past Kurdistan has finalized contracts with foreign companies for developing oil fields but Baghdad does not recognize such contracts. The two sides held several rounds of negotiations without reaching a final solution.

Conflict between Erbil and Baghdad also arose over the draft oil and gas legislation, which was approved by the Iraqi government in August last year. The former believes the draft law gives too much power to the federal government to manage Kurdistan's oil wealth and would be at the expense of the region.

By Jaafar al-Wannan