Despite Islamic State lightning advances in northern Iraq, posing arguably the worst threat ever to Iraq's territorial integrity, Baghdad succeeded in exporting 2.94 million barrels of oil per day in December, the most since the 1980s. And more is to come: crude oil production in Kirkuk alone will double from 150,000 to 300,000 barrels per day during the next several weeks, according to Fouad Hussein, a member of Kirkuk provincial council's oil and gas committee. Moreover, state-owned Missan Oil Company in southern Iraq plans to boost its output from 250,000 to over 1 million barrels per day by 2017.
Reaching these ambitious goals will require a significant upgrade to Iraq's oil pipeline network. In Kirkuk, for example, an entirely new pipeline network will be built to connect the Kirkuk oil fields to Kuridistan's main export oil pipeline through Turkey. In Missan and Basra to the south, a similar new network of interconnecting pipelines is being considered to replace the existing decrepit system.
Given the central government's recent breakthrough agreement with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan over all the country's oil being sold only under the auspices of the National Oil Company in Baghdad, the replacement / rehabilitation of the national pipeline network is expected to proceed apace