, LONDON, June 17- Iraq’s automonous Kurdistan region wants to hike oil exports to 400,000 barrels per day by the end of 2014, despite ongoing violence and objections from Baghdad, it said here Tuesday.
“Our export level can increase, hopefully soon, by July, we may be able to double it, or at least reach 200,000” barrels per day (bpd), said Kurdish natural resources minister Ashti Hawrami at an oil conference in the British capital.
“By year end we might reach 400,000” bpd, he added at the ‘Iraq Petroleum 2014’ event in London.
Iraqi Kurdistan’s current exports stand at 125,000 bpd, Hawrami said.
He added that two tankers of oil pumped from the northern Iraqi reigon have already been sold, while another two tankers will be loaded at the Turkish port of Ceyhan this week.
Baghdad insists its has the sole right to export Iraqi crude and the dispute has worsened relations with Ankara.
Last month, the Iraqi government filed legal action against Turkey after oil from Iraq’s Kurdish region was exported to international markets without Baghdad’s consent.
Thamir Ghadhban, a former Iraqi oil minister and now an advisor to Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, repeated Baghdad’s opposition to the Kurdish exports.
“All Iraqi oil should be exported via the federal system,” said Ghadhban in London on Tuesday.
Brent oil prices had surged last Friday to a nine-month peak at $114.69 per barrel on the back of spreading violence in Iraq.
Iraq is the second biggest crude exporter in the 12 nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after kingpin Saudi Arabia.