Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pipeline blast causes major crude oil spill into Tigris north of Baghdad

Above: Smoke rises from the sabotaged pipeline as crude oil spills into the Tigris, a major source of water for drinking and irrigation

Crude oil spills into Tigris River after bomb damages pipeline near northern Iraqi city

A bomb went off under an oil pipeline near the northern city of Beiji on Tuesday, setting off a fire and causing huge quantities of crude oil to spill into the Tigris River, a police official said. The U.S. military said the blast was the work of al-Qaida insurgents in the area...

The U.S. military said in a statement that the part of the pipeline that was hit was some 2 meters (6.8 feet) underground and covered with a slab of concrete...

Beiji, 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad, is the home to Iraq's largest oil refinery.

Later the in the day, the spill reached the central city of Tikrit, more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the south, residents and local officials said. The oil spill led to the closing of water stations in both cities, Tikrit and Beiji.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune

Attack on Kirkuk-Bayji pipeline

An explosion along an oil pipeline extending from the northern Kirkuk oilfields to Bayji refineries caused damage to both the line and another parallel pipeline between Iraq and Turkey, on Tuesday...

Firefighters were struggling to contain the damage, a source in the local oil industry said. The explosion is expected to halt production at Bayji refineries, which supply more than half of Iraq's oil products.

According to a source in the water department in Salahaddin, the explosion caused oil to seep into the Tigris river damaging water stations and triggering their temporary closure.

The water supply up to 100 kilometres south of the explosion site was affected due to the unimpeded oil flow, the source added. Water used for irrigation purposes was similarly contaminated.

In the aftermath of the attack, a series of fires were reported along the banks of the Tigris as a result of the leak, said a member of Salahaddin province's civil defence department.

Health officials in Tikrit and Bayji have reported several cases of suffocation as a result of smoke inhalation. The dark clouds of smoke mixed with gas are said to have gathered in the skies from Bayji to Tikrit, 40 kilometres south of the explosion site.

Read the rest at Digital Journal

Kirkuk pipeline attack sets Iraq oil back

The international oil market will still have to rely on Basra to supply Iraq’s oil exports as an apparent attack shuts down the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline again.

The pipeline is key to increasing Iraq exports, providing the capacity to increased production. The Bush administration, during benchmark stump speeches last week, held up the newly reopened pipeline as a success story.

Iraq produced just less than 2 million barrels per day last month, according to estimates by the global energy information firm Platts. The country usually exports slightly more than three-fourths of what it produces. Most of that is coming from export terminals in Basra, in south Iraq, since attacks on the pipeline feeding oil to a terminal in Ceyhan, Turkey, has rendered it virtually useless...

Last month Iraq officials gave a hushed admission that the line had been repaired and oil was flowing to Turkey, most likely in test quantities, said Rochdi Younsi, Middle East analyst for the business risk firm Eurasia Group.

“They did say that they were completing a series of tests that appear to be promising, tests meaning that they were pumping a certain volume through the pipeline,” Younsi said. “But frankly no one expected the Iraqi government to make an announcement because doing that usually leads to an attack.”

Read the rest at UPI

Related Link:
Report: 8 million Iraqis need emergency aid; 43% of Iraqis live in 'absolute poverty'; 28% of kids malnourished; 70% lack adequate water

Related Link:
Perspective: Thirsty in the land of two rivers