(Adds details, background)
By Ahmed Rasheed
BAGHDAD, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Iraq has given foreign energy companies a month to signal their interest in building a new export pipeline from the Kirkuk oilfields in the north of the country.
The new pipeline will replace an old and severely damaged section of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. It will start from oilfields near Kirkuk and extend to the Fish-Khabur border area with Turkey.
Iraq’s oil ministry set Jan. 24 as the deadline for companies to submit letters of interest in building the new pipeline, the ministry said in a statement.
The 350-km pipeline which will have the capacity to transport more than one million barrels per day and will be run under an investment model known as “build-operate-transfer,” oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said .
Under the project terms, the interested companies or consortia should also build a gas pipeline, pumping stations and facilities for crude storage.
Jihad said interested companies must pay the project costs and can then recover them after operating the project for an agreed period of time.
Exports from oilfields in Kirkuk have been on hold since Iraqi government forces took control of them from the Kurds last month in retaliation for a Kurdish referendum on independence which was widely opposed by Turkey, Iran and Western powers.
Kurdistan has built another pipeline for Kirkuk exports to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan after the old Kirkuk pipeline belonging to the federal government had been damaged by Islamic State militants. (Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Hugh Lawson/Keith Weir)