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[casi] Kirkuk oil - "United States can have other ideas.''

Guler: There Is Not Any Problem About Kirkuk - Yumurtalik Oil Pipeline
Anadolu Agency: 3/24/2003

ANKARA - Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said on Monday
that there had not been any problem about the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik oil pipeline
but the pipeline was currently not under operation as there had been a
decrease in the number of tankers.

Speaking in the CNN Turk, Guler gave information about the latest

Replying a question which said, ''under the oil-for-food program of the
United Nations, the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline was under operation for some
time. There are contradictory information about it. Is the pipeline open
now?'' Guler said, ''it is not open at the moment but there is not any

Noting that the pipeline was closed as the number of tankers had decreased,
Guler said, ''it can be operated now and there is oil inside the pipes. We
suspended the flow of oil as of March 23 as the number of tankers

When asked why the number of tankers had decreased, Guler said that it was
because of the war in Iraq. Replying another question which said, ''it is
said that the U.S. military action aims at taking energy resources in the
region under control while it is also said that the United States actually
did not need the oil in Iraq, and it could have purchased it. As the
ministry, what do you think about it?'', Guler said, ''the United States has
its own stocks. In my opinion, the United States does not want to use it
much. Certainly the region of Iraq is very rich both in respect of oil and
also natural gas and it is easy to operate them. It can be considered a
source with cheaper cost. But the United States can have other ideas.''

When asked if the recent developments would affect Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
project, Guler said that they thought the project would not be negatively

''There are Americans and BP in this project. We follow the development of
this project on daily basis, it is a national project for us. The Americans
and British people also follow it strictly. The project is a very strategic
and long term project.''

(ÍS-MS) 24.03.2003

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