Tuesday, 28 August 2012, 11:52 GMT
Oil flow from Turkish-Iraqi pipeline resumes
By AFP

The explosion damaged one pipeline and sparked a fire in Sirnak,

Oil flow in the Turkish-Iraqi pipeline resumed Tuesday following the blast that damaged one of the two lines, Turkey's energy minister said Tuesday.

"Oil has started flowing from one of the lines as of 1000 am (0700 GMT) today...We expect the parallel line to be operational within a week (after repairs)," minister Taner Yildiz said in a press announcement.

The explosion damaged one pipeline and sparked a fire in Sirnak province near the Iraqi border, forcing the closure of the other parallel line for safety reasons.

Yildiz blamed the blast on Kurdish rebels, who have in the past targeted the pipeline. The line is also frequently sabotaged by oil smugglers.

Following the incident, Iraqi officials had called on Turkey to use the parallel pipeline to avoid disruptions in the crucial flow.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, have sabotaged the pipeline several times in the past as part of an armed campaign against the Ankara government.

The 970-kilometre (600-mile) pipeline runs from Iraq's northern oil hub of Kirkuk to the port of Ceyhan on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, pumping 450,000 to 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Iraq depends on oil sales for the vast majority of government income. The oil-rich nation exported over 2.5 million barrels per day in July, earning about $7.5 billion in revenues.