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[casi] U.S. checking into Iraq to Israel oil pipeline

Uh oh. From Ha'aretz.

w w w . h a a r e t z d a i l y . c o m


Last update - 02:51 25/08/2003

U.S. checking possibility of pumping oil from northern Iraq to Haifa, via
By Amiram Cohen

The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil
from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram
last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official
in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister's Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a "bonus"
the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the
American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official

The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent
of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan
to Israel. The U.S. telegram included a request for a cost estimate for
repairing the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was in use prior to 1948. During the
War of Independence, the Iraqis stopped the flow of oil to Haifa and the
pipeline fell into disrepair over the years.

The National Infrastructure Ministry has recently conducted research
indicating that construction of a 42-inch diameter pipeline between Kirkuk
and Haifa would cost about $400,000 per kilometer. The old Mosul-Haifa
pipeline was only 8 inches in diameter.

National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky said yesterday that the port
of Haifa is an attractive destination for Iraqi oil and that he plans to
discuss this matter with the U.S. secretary of energy during his planned
visit to Washington next month. Paritzky added that the plan depends on
Jordan's consent and that Jordan would receive a transit fee for allowing
the oil to piped through its territory. The minister noted, however, that
"due to pan-Arab concerns, it will be hard for the Jordanians to agree to
the flow of Iraqi oil via Jordan and Israel."

Sources in Jerusalem confirmed yesterday that the Americans are looking into
the possibility of laying a new pipeline via Jordan and Israel. (There is
also a pipeline running via Syria that has not been used in some three

Iraqi oil is now being transported via Turkey to a small Mediterranean port
near the Syrian border. The transit fee collected by Turkey is an important
source of revenue for the country. This line has been damaged by sabotage
twice in recent weeks and is presently out of service.

In response to rumors about the possible Kirkuk-Mosul-Haifa pipeline, Turkey
has warned Israel that it would regard this development as a serious blow to
Turkish-Israeli relations.

Sources in Jerusalem suggest that the American hints about the alternative
pipeline are part of an attempt to apply pressure on Turkey.

Iraq is one of the world's largest oil producers, with the potential of
reaching about 2.5 million barrels a day. Oil exports were halted after the
Gulf War in 1991 and then were allowed again on a limited basis (1.5 million
barrels per day) to finance the import of food and medicines. Iraq is
currently exporting several hundred thousand barrels of oil per day.

During his visit to Washington in about two weeks, Paritzky also plans to
discuss the possibility of U.S. and international assistance for joint
Israeli-Palestinian projects in the areas of energy and infrastructure,
natural gas, desalination and electricity.


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