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33

Iraq Oil Exports obstructed by bomb blasts

Oil exports through Iraq's northern pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan have been on hold. The pipeline is Iraq's secondary export route

Oil exports through Iraq's northern pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan have been on hold. The pipeline is Iraq's secondary export route.

"A bomb hit a pipeline transporting crude to Ceyhan in Turkey and halted exports on Wednesday. The blast occurred in an area called Hadhar," said a source from the North Oil Company who declined to be named.

Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad confirmed the account and said flows through the pipeline would resume "in the coming hours".

Another source from the North Oil Company added: "Our crews are about to finish repairing the damage inflicted by the bomb and the flow of crude is expected to resume in 24 hours."

Iraq shipped oil exports at less than half the typical rate on Monday, both because of the halt in flows along the northern pipeline and because of bad weather, which slowed the main southern Basra terminal, officials and shippers said.

Oil exports flowed at around 860,000 barrels per day (bpd), down from average rates of close to 2 million bpd, shipping agents said.

Tighter security has allowed Iraq to boost the flow through its northern line since last August. Frequent attacks and technical problems had kept it mostly idle until last year following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Author: Jo Amey