DUBAI (Reuters) - Former Iraqi oil minister Ibrahim Bahr Al Olum said it was necessary for Iraq to regain an old pipeline that used to export Iraqi crude through Saudi Arabia, Saudi-owned Al Hayat newspaper reported on Thursday.
“I have discussed this issue before with the Saudi side,” said Bahr Al Olum, who is currently a member of parliament, adding that he expected that Riyadh would have a more “positive response” towards this issue given an improved political environment between the two major OPEC producers.
Current Iraqi oil minister Jabar Luaibi is now on an official visit to Saudi Arabia and is due to hold bilateral talks with Saudi Minister of Energy Khalid al-Falih on Thursday.
The Iraqi Pipeline in Saudi Arabia (IPSA) has not carried Iraqi crude since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. The pipeline was confiscated by Saudi Arabia in 2001 as compensation for debts owed by Baghdad.
Saudi Arabia had used the IPSA pipeline to transport gas to power plants in the west of the country for years before test opening it in 2012, giving Riyadh scope to export more of its crude should Iran try to block the Strait of Hormuz.
Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Writing by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Richard Pullin