Iraq to Commission New Export Pipeline in North in Dec

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 11/7/2006, Location: Middle East

Iraq is planning to achieve sustainable crude oil exports from its northern oil field by building a new oil pipeline that would be commissioned next month, the country's oil minister said. "We are building a third pipeline between Kirkuk oil fields and Beiji refinery with a 40-inch diameter," Hussein al-Shahristani told DJN.

"The new pipeline could help sustainable pumping (from the Kirkuk oil fields) to Ceyhan," the minister said on the sideline of an economic conference organized by the United Nations Development Program at Jordan's Dead Sea resort.

There are now two existing oil pipelines between Kirkuk and Beiji that carry crude oil from the oil fields to the refinery and then to the Turkish export Ceyhan port.

He said these two pipelines have sustained heavy damage by insurgents since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"The third pipeline, which is 80 kilometers long, would give us leeway with exports from the north. If the terrorists attack two pipelines, we would have the third working."

He said the pipeline under construction would be commissioned next month. Shahristani said Iraqi technicians from the Oil Ministry are building the pipeline after a contracted foreign company failed to do so.

He neither named the company nor gave the cost of the pipeline.

Persistent acts of sabotage have kept the northern export pipelines shut down for most of this year and last. Iraq managed to export only 10 million barrels of crude from northern Iraq. Before the U.S.-led war in 2003, Iraq used to export around 800,000 barrels a day from the north.

Iraq is currently selling the bulk of its crude oil from southern oil outlets, exporting around 1.5 million b/d.


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