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Turkish strikes threaten Syrian crude exports to Iraqi Kurdistan

Turkey’s latest military campaign is targeting energy infrastructure in northeast Syria, depriving the Kurdish-led autonomous region of fuel and power — and potentially export revenue.
Tanker trucks idle near the Remelan oil fields on Nov. 11, 2013, shortly after Kurdish-led forces began solidifying political control over northeast Syria. (Reuters)

ERBIL/SULAIMANIYA - Turkish airstrikes on northeast Syria have damaged refineries, power plants, and other energy infrastructure — leading to shortages of fuel, power, and water supplies, and potentially disrupting crude exports to Iraqi Kurdistan.

The greatest damage has been sustained at the Suwaidiya gas bottling facility and power station, which have been put out of use by the strikes, according to four officials from the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria (AANES), which governs the autonomous region. The facilities provide bottled cooking gas for domestic use and feedstock for electricity generation; their loss has caused a spike in prices and power blackouts.

Crude exports to Iraqi Kurdistan are averaging about 30,000 bpd, one oil sector official said, but could decrease in the coming weeks if oil is diverted to local refineries to meet need for fuel supplies in the absence of bottled gas.

“We might reduce exports to meet local demand of oil products,” said an oil engineer at the Remelan oil fields. “If people do not have bottled gas, they should be provided with kerosene or other oil products. It is really a tough situation, and I can’t imagine how we are going to adapt.”

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