Iraq Resumes Turkish Exports

Iraq’s Oil Ministry said it had resumed crude oil exports to Turkey through its northern Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline after suspected sabotage stopped flows earlier this month.

Flows from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, which averaged 440,000 barrels per day in May, resumed on Friday afternoon, said ministry spokesman Asim Jihad.

"Pumping from Kirkuk resumed on Friday afternoon at more than 300,000 bpd," he said.

Reuters said an official at Iraq's state-run North Oil Company confirmed that pumping had resumed on Friday after the rupture was repaired.

"We resumed pumping to Ceyhan port on Friday with a test flow rate between 300,000 to 350,000 bpd and flow will be back to normal rates within 24 hours," the official told Reuters.

Pumping was halted after a two-metre section of the pipeline was damaged on 6 June near the town of Shirqat, south of the northern city of Mosul and about 300 kilometres north of Baghdad. Officials blamed sabotage.

The 960-kilometer pipeline carries an average of 500,000 bpd from Iraq to Ceyhan, where it is loaded onto tankers for export.

Sabotage and technical problems kept the Iraq-Turkey route mostly idle until 2007 following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Flows have increased since 2007, partly due to tighter security.

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