Iraq Tests Southern Oil Pipeline After Leak Repair

Source: Reuters 9/18/2013, Location: Middle East

Iraq has begun test pumping on a major southern oil pipeline and normal flow is expected to resume on 19 September 2013, two oil officials said.

Testing came after repair work on a leak that reduced oil production in Iraq's south.

The leak in the ageing pipeline - buried three meters underground - emerged last week due to corrosion, forcing Iraq to cut output from the super-giant Rumaila oilfield, said an official at Iraq's Southern Oil Co.

"Early on 18 September 2013 morning, test pumping started after the pipeline leak was repaired. We expect to restore normal output levels after resuming complete production from Rumaila on Thursday," one Iraqi official said.

Rumaila, the workhorse of Iraq's oil industry, was producing around 1.47 million barrels per day (bpd) before the leak, which cut production to around 870,000 barrels, two oil officials close to Rumaila operations said.

A lack of adequate energy infrastructure and security issues have slowed Iraq's oil recovery to reach a projected target of 3.4 million bpd Baghdad by end-2013.

In light of the recent leak, Iraq has decided to evaluate all its key oil pipelines in the south to avoid future disruption from technical problems, another Iraqi oil ministry official said.

"We will start an overall checks for the key pipelines in the south. We have to make sure further halts could be avoided," the official said.

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