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Iraqi oil export pipeline hit by saboteurs

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 25 -- Iraq’s exports of oil to Turkey’s Mediterraneann port of Ceyhan have been stopped due to sabotage along a pipeline in the country’s northern region.

"Exports have been suspended," said Assem Jihad, a spokesman for Iraq’s ministry of oil. "Technical teams have been sent to the site to carry out repairs but we do not know how long it will take."

Jihad said the Nov. 21 attack was the third act of sabotage against the pipeline in 2 months. According to the ministry, acts of sabotage carried out by insurgents reduced oil exports in October by 4% compared to September.

In October, Iraq exported 1.87 million b/d, bringing in $4.2 billion in revenues. In September, the Arab country exported 1.95 million b/d and earned $3.8 billion.

Late in October, Jihad announced that a crude pipeline in northern Iraq was damaged by attempted sabotage, but that production and exports were not affected because it carried crude to a storage unit with sufficient reserves.

“Sabotage targeting an export pipeline for crude oil was carried out” in Nineveh province, said Jihad, adding, “It caused a fire but firemen controlled it.”

In May, reports said that unknown gunmen blew up two oil pipelines from Iraq's northern Bai Hassan oil field near Kirkuk, but the flow of the country's northern oil exports weren't affected.

"It is a sabotage attack against two pipelines,” said Jihad, adding that the two damaged pipelines were carrying crude oil from two wells in the field to a gathering station.

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