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Iraq Oil Flow to Turkey Is Halted

October 18, 2003

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ Iraq resumed pumping oil through its northern pipeline to Turkey on Saturday, but the flow stopped after two hours because of technical problems, a Turkish official said.

The official gave no details as to why the pumping was halted. Saturday’s brief pumping was the first in two months.

In August, Iraq briefly pumped fresh crude oil through the pipeline to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast for the first time since the war, but the flow was halted because of sabotage and other problems.

Two Turkish officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Saturday that Iraq resumed pumping oil through the 600-mile pipeline from the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to Ceyhan at 11:00 a.m. Saturday.

But the flow later stopped because of unspecified technical problems, one of the officials later said. The official added the oil flow could resume again as early as Sunday.

Turkey’s Anatolia news agency quoted Gurhan Gur, a top official at Ceyhan, as saying a leak in the pipeline was to blame.

The Turkish officials said between 400,000 and 600,000 barrels of oil would be pumped daily.

The reopening of the pipeline is considered an important step in rebuilding Iraq’s oil industry, bringing oil from the vast northern fields to world markets.

Iraq resumed oil sales in June, when tankers began shipping crude that had been in storage at Ceyhan since the war halted exports.

Iraq has since only been pumping oil through its other pipeline in the south.

Update hourly