BEIRUT

Middle East

Iraq oil pipeline bombed, pumping shut down

File - An Iraqi oil worker walks through Iraq's oldest oil processing plant in the northern Iraqi town of Baba Gurgur, outside of Kirkuk Saturday Jan. 24, 2004.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

KIRKUK, Irar: Militants bombed a major oil pipeline in northern Iraq early on Saturday, disabling it and forcing pumping to be suspended, security officials said.

Three blasts went off along the pipeline, in Nineveh province, which runs to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, according to two security officials.

They did not cause any casualties.

An official with the state-owned North Oil Co in the city of Kirkuk said the suspension was caused by a technical fault, and said repairs were being carried out on the pipeline, with pumping expected to resume on Sunday.

Militants frequently attack the pipeline, which ferries a significant portion of Iraq's oil exports to international markets.

Iraq is heavily dependent on crude sales, which account for 95 percent of government revenues and an estimated two-thirds of gross domestic product, and is looking to dramatically boost them in the coming years.

Officials are aiming to increase production capacity to nine million bpd by 2017, a target that the International Monetary Fund and International Energy Agency have warned is over-optimistic.

 

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