- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 16, 2005

BAGHDAD (AP) — Almost a month after saboteurs shut down a northern Iraqi oil pipeline, the government said yesterday it should resume pumping crude from northern fields to an export terminal in southeastern Turkey by month’s end.

A Dec. 18 explosion caused by saboteurs halted the flow of oil through the northern pipeline, which was carrying about 400,000 barrels per day before the attack.

“Repair work on the damaged export pipeline that carries crude oil from Kirkuk oil fields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan is expected to finish in 10 days’ time from now,” the Oil Ministry said. “Exports via the pipeline to Turkey’s Ceyhan port are expected to resume immediately after completing repair work.”

The ministry also said a damaged feeder pipeline that carries crude oil from Kirkuk oil fields to the Beiji refinery, in northern Iraq, has been repaired and has started resupplying the refinery with 300,000 barrels a day.

Iraq’s northern pipeline has been the target of repeated insurgent attacks, and the storage facilities at Ceyhan ran dry last month.

Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization last week informed customers it would reduce southern term export contracts by about 10 percent, or 160,000 to 170,000 barrels a day, for five months because of insurgent attacks, bad weather hampering the southern export terminals’ operations, and demurrage costs.

The organization’s chief, Dhiaa al-Bakka, said last month that exports averaged 1.55 million barrels per day in 2004, with 1.43 million barrels coming from the south and 120,000 from the north.

The annual average export level fell below the target of 1.85 million barrels per day because of the country’s deteriorating security situation.

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