Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company has halted pumping crude produced at fields it runs in the Kirkuk area through a pipeline to Turkey, three sources said on Monday.
The pipeline carries crude to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, where the Kurds have been selling it independently on the international market, in addition to oil produced in their autonomous region.
North Oil normally exports 150,000 barrels a day through the pipeline.
The oil ministry in Baghdad was behind the order to stop pumping through the pipeline, according to an NOC official, who asked to remain anonymous. “There is no technical failure, it’s a decision from Baghdad,” he said.
The oil ministry was not immediately available for comment.
After ISIS militants invaded a third of the country and the Iraqi army’s northern divisions disintegrated, Kurdish forces took control of the long-disputed Kirkuk and its oil fields in June 2014.
Since then, NOC has continued pumping crude through the pipeline, which was idle for more than three weeks.
Ahmed Askari, the head of the energy and industry committee in the Kirkuk provincial council said flows were halted hours after the pipeline reopened on Friday.
North Oil is continuing to produce the crude, but storing it in Kirkuk instead of exporting it through the pipeline, the NOC source added.