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The key northern oil pipeline from Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan is expected to resume flows within 72 hours following yet another explosion on the line on Sunday, sources said Monday.

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A bomb placed under the Kirkuk-Ceyhan line in Iraq's Ninewa province exploded early Sunday halting flows, a senior Iraqi oil official told Platts.

"The exports were completely stopped from Kirkuk," said the senior official with the state-run North Oil Company, who asked not be identified.

The official said the explosion took place in Ain al-Jahsh, south of the city of Mosul, in the middle of an area increasingly rife with al-Qaeda and other militants.

A crude trader said Monday it was expected to take 72 hours to repair the damage.

However, another said the flow was completely halted and there were "no views when it will resume."

The pipeline had been operational for just two weeks since the last attack, on June 21, which kept the route offline until July 17.

Like the previous attack, technicians are having problems reaching the point of repairs because of security issues.

"It is an area where the insurgents and armed groups, as well as Al-Qaeda have presence there," said a second senior NOC official.

The pipeline to Turkey has been averaging around 300,000 b/d when it is online.

It has a nameplate of nearly 1.6 million b/d capacity but disrepair, frequent attacks and field production problems have scaled back real capacity.

--Staff reports,
--Edited by James Leech,