Iraq has announced it is exploring alternative routes to export its oil in case conflicts lead to the closure of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
CNN cited Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh saying that Iraq may reactivate long-idle pipelines and ship more oil to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey.
Several Iranian officials have threatened that if Iranian oil is put under sanction, the Iranian navy will attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz, which sees the daily passage of 20 percent of the world’s oil production.
Iran is facing international sanctions over its nuclear disputes with world powers. Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and, therefore, it has a right to develop its nuclear technology. The West however is concerned that Iran’s nuclear program may have a military component.
The CNN report indicates that the Iraqi Cabinet has approved recommendations for alternative ways to transport its oil, and as a short-term plan, it could increase production through a pipeline in Kirkuk to Ceyhan and use tanker trucks to ship its oil abroad.
The Iraqi government is also looking at more long-term plans that include reopening pipelines to Syria and Lebanon, which have been shut down since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, or pipelines to the Red Sea port of Yanbu in Saudi Arabia, which have not been used since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
Building new pipelines to connect Iraqi oil fields to Jordan’s port of Aqaba on the Red Sea was another recommendation by the government committee.
The United States has warned Iran that its own naval forces in the region will retaliate against any attempt to block traffic in the Strait of Hormuz.