(AA) -- Iran is close to constructing a crude oil pipeline as well as a natural gas conduit to Iraq's autonomous Kurdish north, according to Kurdish Regional Government officials in Irbil, the region's capital. Iran and Kurdish Regional Government officials' joint negotiations continued Wednesday on the oil pipeline and gas pipeline projects between two sides, Abdullah Akrayi, Kurdish official responsible for Iranian Affairs, told the Anadolu Agency. The first pipeline will carry crude oil from the Kurdish region to Iran. Iran will refine and dispatch back the oil. The natural gas project is aimed at transferring Iranian gas to cities such as Sulaymaniyah and Irbil.
Akrayi said talks for the two projects began last year but the start of the construction work was delayed due to resignation of the Iranian oil minister, Rostam Qasimi. With Iran's oil refineries in the western city of Kermanshah, Akrayi said Iran was ready to buy crude oil from the Kurdish regional government. "Iran will supply the oil and gas that we need. We expect that the [Kurdish] delegation and Iranian officials will come to a conclusion."
The Kurdish regional government currently continues to transfer 25,000 tons of oil per day from Haji Homaran, Bashmak and Perwizhan border gates to Iran, Afghanistan and Armenia overland. The Kurdish government wishes to decrease oil prices by transferring oil and gas via pipeline instead of overland, with the aim of increasing the volume. In November 2013, Turkish and Kurdish regional administration officials signed an agreement that would enable Kurdish oil to flow from Kirkuk to the port of Ceyhan on Turkey's south-eastern Mediterranean coast but Iraqi oil has not yet been exported to international.