London: Iraq aims soon to export its first batch of crude from its beleaguered northern oilfields for the first time in nearly a year.
Iraq resumed intermittent flows through its vital northern oil pipeline to Turkey last weekend after a four-month halt.
The country plans within days to issue a sales tender for at least four million barrels of Kirkuk crude from Turkey's Ceyhan terminal, the first such award since last August.
"Iraq is going to have a Kirkuk tender in the next few days," an industry source said.
"It will be along the lines of (state marketer) Somo's previous sales."
Trading sources said five million barrels of Kirkuk crude have built up in storage tanks at Ceyhan.
Since the United States led invasion in 2003, relentless sabotage along the Iraq-Turkey pipeline has meant that exports have rarely been possible.
Before the war with the United States, Iraq was exporting at least 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Kirkuk crude through the Turkish terminal.
The export route is still beset with problems.
Technicians are collecting batches of about 400,000 barrels, then injecting them down the pipeline.
Iraq has been relying almost exclusively on Basra Light exports from the south, which are now running at 1.5 million bpd.