Smoke billows above Iraq's Kirkuk as oil pipeline explodes

Smoke billows above Iraq's Kirkuk as oil pipeline explodes
A pipeline that exports oil to Turkey from Iraq's Kurdistan region allegedly exploded early on Wednesday morning, local reports confirmed.
2 min read
26 April, 2017
Oil pipelines are frequently targeted in militant attacks [File Photo: Getty]
An oil pipeline detonated in a field in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk earlier on Wednesday, causing a halt in production, government sources confirmed.

"An explosion occurred in Kirkuk, which caused considerable material damage and stopped production," the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement.

"The blast occurred, at two o'clock on Wednesday morning, along the pipeline run by authorities of the Kurdistan region which extracts oil and exports it to Turkey,” it added.

No further details were provided surrounding the explosion, although the Islamic State group has targeted Iraq's pipelines on several occasions.

The pipeline produces a thousand barrels of oil per day, and began production just three days earlier after being fixed.

Authorities in the Kurdish region of Iraq have produced oil from northern fields in the province of Kirkuk, including the field of Bay Hassan (50 km northwest of Kirkuk) since 2015.

The oil, which amounts to some 150,000 barrels per day, is exported via a pipeline to Turkey where it is independently sold without the involvement of the Iraqi government.

Iraq's oil fields are subject to frequent armed attacks that have disrupted production across multiple locations in the country.

Baghdad relies heavily on oil as a major source of revenue as the country continues to battle against Islamic State militants.