Turkey seeks renewal of Iraq pipeline deal

ANKARA:Turkey hopes to extend a deal on operating a pipeline carrying Iraqi oil to world markets by up to 20 years, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz was quoted as saying Tuesday.

Ankara and Baghdad are currently engaged in negotiations to renew the deal, which expires this month, the minister told a conference.

"Hopefully, we will reach an agreement for another 15-20 years," Yildiz said, according to Anatolia news agency.

The 970-kilometre (600-mile) pipeline runs from oil-rich Kirkuk in northern Iraq to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, from where the crude is shipped to world markets on tankers.

The twin conduit, first inaugurated in 1976, carried 167.6 million barrels of oil last year, according to Turkish statistics.

It has often been sabotaged by insurgents inside Iraq as well as Kurdish militants in Turkey.