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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Undefended, Non-Operational Pipeline Attacked In Iraq

An explosion on Wednesday in Iraq rocked a pipeline that had previously been used to transfer oil from a field near Kirkuk to the Ceyhan port, according to the company that built it, North Oil.

The pipeline starting in the Havana field suffered from a “terrorist act” the firm said, adding that no spill had occurred since the line did not contain any fuel. An investigation is underway.

“Oil is not currently being exported from that field,” a source cited by eKurd said.

The Havana field has been under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Natural Resources, but the administration had withdrawn security forces and other officers from the field in August 2014 due to its non-productive status.

KRG-controlled oilfields have been under attack several times this year.

Last month, ISIS planted explosives at the Khabaz oilfield - which, like Havana, also sits near oil-rich Kirkuk and also runs under the purview of KRG-owned North Oil. Sources on the ground said they were still burning a week later, with local officials stressing that even once the fire is under the control, the wells might be beyond repair.

ISIS had attacked the same pipeline in January 2015, but the terrorists group’s forces in the area have largely been eradicated by the Kurdish Peshmerga army.

Related: Shell Unveils New Strategy: ‘Leaner and Deeper’

Despite various hurdles and conflicts, the Iraqi Kurds have managed to increase oil exports to Turkey, with April figures showing an average of over 511,000 barrels per day, even without Baghdad’s oil coming through the Kirkuk pipeline.

In February and March, a pipeline was taken offline under unclear circumstances, and shortly after that, the central government in Iraq decided to suspend its own exports through the Kirkuk-Turkey pipeline.

Before these complications, Iraqi Kurdistan was exporting 600,000 barrels per day to Turkey.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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