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Kirkuk is a town in northern Iraq, the centre of the northern Iraqi petroleum industry. It is located at 35.47N, 44.41E, in the Iraqi province of at-Ta'mim. The estimated population in 2003 was 755,700 people.

The Kirkuk oil field was brought into use by the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) in 1934 and has remained the basis of northern Iraqi oil production, with over 10 billion barrels of proven remaining oil reserves, as of 1998. The facilities have been sabotaged at times during fighting between Iraqi forces and the Kurds.

Pipelines from Kirkuk run through Turkey to Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea and were one of the two main routes for the export of Iraqi oil under the "oil for food" programme following the Gulf War. This was in accordance with a United Nations mandate that at least 50% of the oil exports pass through Turkey. There are two parallel lines built in 1977 and 1987.

The Kurds have identified Kirkuk as their preferred capital in any new Kurdish state.