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Bomb attack on Iraq-Turkey pipeline halts crude oil supplies

Istanbul — * Exports set to resume later Wednesday after repairs
* Pipeline had suffered earlier outage due to theft
* KRG urges end to Turkey, PKK hostilities

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Crude exports from northern Iraq to Turkey through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline have been halted after the pipeline was blown up in a sabotage attack in the district of Cizre in Turkey, Turkey's energy ministry said Wednesday.

Iraqi and Kurdish sources told Platts that the line -- one of two parallel lines that make up the export link -- would be repaired and was expected to resume operations later Wednesday.

The attack occurred at around 1.30 am local time Wednesday (2230 GMT Tuesday), a Turkish energy ministry official told Platts.

The line had already been effectively shut in though on Monday after thieves attempted to tap the pipeline in southeast Turkey, sources said.

An Iraqi source said the pipeline would be "back up today," which sources in Kurdistan also confirmed.


Earlier Wednesday, the Turkish energy ministry official said it was the smaller of the two parallel lines that make up the export route that had been damaged.

The official said only the 40-inch line was in use at the time of the attack with the parallel 46-inch line currently idled.

He added that at the time of the explosion there was only minimal flow through the line so that leakage after the explosion was small, most likely due to the attempted theft from the pipeline.

Exports through the line often vary, though total volumes before Monday, when supplies were disrupted by the theft, were averaging around 600,000 b/d.

This included 150,000 b/d of oil sent through the line on behalf of Iraq's state-owned NOC and the rest Kurdistan's own oil, which it has recently begun selling independently of Baghdad once again.


The bombing on the crude link follows a similar attack on the Iran-Turkey natural gas pipeline earlier in the week, which Ankara blamed on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has recently stepped up attacks in southeast Turkey; over the weekend it claimed responsibility for an attack on a main power transmission line.

Turkey has upped its offensive against the PKK in recent weeks in tandem with a campaign against so-called Islamic State militants.

Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani warned Saturday that Ankara's peace process with the PKK was in jeopardy following a PKK announcement taking responsibility for the killing of two Turkish police officers and retaliatory Turkish bombing of PKK bases in Kurdistan.

"Regrettably, the mistakes committed now have undermined the entire peace process," Barzani said, adding that the KRG stood ready to act as mediator in any initiative to re-establish a ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK.

"We call on the PKK to restrain and work to re-establish the ceasefire and re-engage in the peace process," he said.

--David O'Byrne,
--Staff reports,
--Tamsin Carlisle,
--Stuart Elliott,
--Edited by Jonathan Fox,