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Will the oil pipeline between Kirkuk and Tripoli be revived?
Economy News Baghdad:
Officials from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq have taken part in talks to restart the pipeline that links oilfields near Kirkuk and Iraq's coastal city of Tripoli. Will the most important line in the Middle East be operated?
The re-operation of the Kirkuk-Tripoli pipeline will have long-term political, economic and strategic consequences for the countries concerned and for the region as a whole, says a report on the Oil Price website.
The original infrastructure was established during the 1930s, when two 12-inch tubes succeeded in transporting oil from Kirkuk to Haifa in Palestine and to Tripoli in Lebanon.
The Tripoli line was completed by another pipeline in the 1950s, which could transport about 400,000 barrels a day.
On the other hand, Syria stopped the pipeline linking Kirkuk and Tripoli during the Iraq war and Iran in an attempt to support Tehran against Baghdad, according to the same report.
While Iran's participation in regional politics was necessary to create the right environment for cooperation, Russia's participation proved to be equally important.
The Kremlin's decision to take part in the war in Syria, along with the Assad forces, was a pivotal point in re-establishing control over the areas needed for the Kirkuk-Tripoli pipeline to operate.
In addition, Moscow has established good political relations with both Iraq and Lebanon to become mediator to facilitate an agreement.
According to the report, the participation of "Rosneft" is important to strengthen Moscow's efforts in the region, where the Russian energy giant has good relations with the Iraqi government, and manages several oil fields, along with the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.
Rosneft recently signed an agreement with the Lebanese government to operate the storage facility in Tripoli over the next 20 years.
The Russian participation - as the report adds - is a task to push Arab countries to consider the renewal of the old pipeline between Kirkuk and Tripoli.
The new pipeline will strengthen political ties among participating nations for decades thanks to interdependence in terms of energy security and the economic interests of energy exports.
Despite the intention to reactivate the old pipeline between Kirkuk and Tripoli, it is not clear whether the project will actually be completed, the report's author said.
The situation in Syria was creating uncertainty, making the construction and operation process a problem.
The author added that it was not certain if the Syrian regime's "weary" army was able to secure the pipeline during its clash with the remaining areas controlled by the opposition in Idlib.
He said Washington would probably not stand idly by as its opponents in Moscow and Tehran solidify their influence in the region.
"At least for the time being, talks will continue to reactivate the pipeline in secret, until the security situation has improved significantly."
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