Saboteurs hit Iraq’s northern oil pipeline, halting exports


Eric Watkins
Oil and Gas Journal
April 24, 2010

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Iraqi oil exports have been cut due to sabotage along the northern pipeline system, according to officials who say repairs could take up to a week. The 970-km line transports crude oil from the country’s Kirkuk fields to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

“The export pipeline is damaged and oil flow to the Turkish export terminal [at] Ceyhan has been halted,” said one Iraqi official. Another said oil flow had stopped due to an explosion in Al-Hadhar, 80 km south of Mosul.

“We are sure now that it was sabotage, not a technical failure…. The time frame to fix the pipeline and resume pumping oil is about a week,” said one Iraqi oil official, who added, “The pipeline was attacked.”

As a result, officials halted loadings of oil at Ceyhan, where storage was variously reported to be down to 300,000-650,000 bbl.

The line carried 450,000 b/d in this year’s first quarter, just under 25% of Iraq’s 2 million b/d of exports. The rest of Iraq’s oil exports exit the country via the southern terminal at Basra on the Persian Gulf.

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