SUMEL - A deep trench cuts through rolling fields of ripe wheat on the outskirts of Sumel, in northwest Kurdistan, toward the Turkish border. The much-rumored construction of an oil export pipeline is underway and nearly complete.
The new infrastructure will likely change the balance of political and economic power in Iraq. If the Kurds strike a deal with Ankara, the pipeline will help them bypass the Iraqi central government's control and send as much as 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude to international markets independently through Turkey.
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