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Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline flows halted, shippers say

Electrical issue blamed for outage


August 30, 2010 1:05 by

The flow of Iraqi crude from the northern Kirkuk fields to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan has stopped due to an electrical problem on a part of the pipeline inside Turkey, shipping agents said on Monday.

Pumping stopped late on Sunday, one of the shippers said.

Repair work to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, which transports about a quarter of all Iraqi oil exports, was underway and flows were expected to resume late on Monday, both shipping agents said on condition of anonymity.

This is at least the third outage this month on the key energy corridor, which faces frequent sabotage and technical problems.

Five tankers were waiting at Ceyhan to load their cargoes, one shipper said.

“There are about 400,000 tonnes of cargo in the shore tanks. We expect the resumption of loading late tonight,” he said.

Shippers already faced delays of three days in loading times at Ceyhan before the pipeline outage, another agent said.

Officials at the Turkish Energy Ministry and Botas, Turkey’s state pipeline operator, were unable to confirm the outage.

A rupture on Aug. 21 knocked out flows for three days. On Aug. 11, an explosion blamed on the Kurdistan Workers Party, a guerrilla group fighting the Turkish army, stopped the flow of oil for two days. Two people were killed in the ensuing fire.

(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley, editing by Jane Baird)


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