Iraq oil export pipeline hit in fresh attacks

10 March 2011

Blast shuts down northern pipeline from Kirkuk to Ceyhan

Iraq’s crude oil exports from its northern pipeline have been halted following a new bomb attack in the northern province of Nineveh.

The attack on the night of 8 March caused an explosion at the 1.6 million barrels a day (b/d) pipeline which runs from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, Reuters news agency reports.

“There was no fire only an oil leak so flow was halted,” says Asim Jihad, a spokesman for the Oil Ministry.

Oil flows are expected to resume in the next “few days”.

The incident follows an attack on 26 February on the 310,000 b/d Baiji refinery, 180 kilometres north of Baghdad, which resulted in four deaths and the closure of one of its 150,000 b/d units. The refinery has since been reopened (MEED 6:3:11).

Iraq’s oil infrastructure has faced numerous attacks since the US-led invasion in 2003. It exported a total of 67 million barrels in January at an average of 2.1 million b/d, earning the country more than $6bn. Exports from the north via the Kirkuk pipeline to Turkey contributed 13 million barrels earning it $1.2bn.

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