September 3, 2005

Iraq’s Kirkuk crude oil exports halted-source

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - All exports of Iraq's Kirkuk crude
oil through a major pipeline to Ceyhan on Turkey's
Mediterranean coast were stopped on Saturday after a bomb blast
set the pipeline on fire, an oil ministry source said.

"The blast halted all exports, it stopped them completely,"
the source told Reuters.

The pipeline was hit by an explosion early on Saturday and
caught fire for several hours, a guard on the pipeline, who
declined to be identified, told Reuters.

The pipeline runs from the major northern Iraqi oilfield of
Kirkuk to Ceyhan. The explosion took place near Fatha, between
Kirkuk and the city of Baiji. The guard gave no further

Another guard said a roadside bomb had been placed beside
the pipeline some 4 km (2.5 miles) from Fatha, which is 95 km
(60 miles) southwest of Kirkuk.

By 2:30 p.m. (1030 GMT) the fire had been extinguished, a
fire department official from Iraq's North Oil Company told
Reuters. But he added that oil leaking from the pipeline had
spilled some 2 km (1.2 miles) from the site of the explosion.

It was not immediately clear how long it would take to
repair the line and bring it back to full capacity.

The U.S.-based Congressional Research Service, in an April
2005 report, said the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline consisted of two
parallel pipes. One has a nominal capacity of 1.1 million
barrels per day but a practical limit of 900,000 bpd, while the
other has a capacity of 500,000 bpd.