OREANDA-NEWS.   A newly built link connecting the major Kirkuk oil hub to Iraqi Kurdistan's independent pipeline still needs to be tested before it can be used, Kurdistan's deputy minister of natural resources said.

"It still needs to be tested," Taha Zanghana, deputy minister of natural resources of Iraqi Kurdistan told reporters at a conference in London.

An existing connection between the Avana dome and Khurmala is not usable and too small at just around 30,000 barrels per day, so a new one had to be built, a spokesman for the Kurdish natural resources ministry added.

The region also will have to increase its oil product imports due to the shutdown of Iraq's major refinery at Baiji as Islamic extremists control nearly the whole complex.

"We were expecting that case, and we made all the preparations to supply out local demand ... It's not the first time it has been shut down or they cut our supplies," Zanghana said.