An oil storage depot at the Zubair oil field has been bombed, setting one tank on fire and halting pumping at the station in the south of Iraq.

About 27,000 cubic metres of crude oil, approximately 170,000 barrels, was lost in the blaze, which has now been brought under control, according to AK news agency reports on 5 June.

However, Dhiya Jaffar, head of the state-run South Oil Company, says the explosion had not affected pumping to Al-Fao oil terminal, which accounts for most of Iraq’s crude oil exports.

“Production has been adjusted, so daily production levels and export levels are not affected. Exports are continuing at the same rate,” Jaffar told Reuters news agency.

Iraq’s oil and gas infrastructure has been the target of numerous attacks by insurgents. The US government’s Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) reports that attacks on Iraq’s pipelines during the first quarter of the year included an explosion near Mosul on 8 March on the Iraq-Turkey pipeline, which transports almost a quarter of Iraq’s daily export volume (MEED 10:3:11).  

Another attack occurred on the pipeline from Nat-Khana to the Doura refinery in Baghdad on 17 February. Attacks on tanker trucks carrying refined fuels were also reported by the Oil Ministry during the quarter.

The 4-billion-barrel Zubair oil field is developed by Italy’s Eni, which leads a consortium of the US’ Occidental, South Korea’s Kogas and state-owned Missan Oil Company, which signed a 20-year deal in Iraq’s second oil field licensing round in 2009. The group plan to lift output to 1.2 million barrels a day (b/d) from the 183,000 b/d.