An explosion has hit the pipeline carrying Iraqi oil to Turkey, causing a fire and stopping oil flow to Turkey, security sources said. The blast happened on Sunday night on a stretch of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline in the Silopi and Cizre districts of Sirnak Province near the Iraqi border.
The cause of the fire was not immediately clear but some reports say separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or oil smugglers may have sabotaged it.Turkish security sources say firefighters were trying to put out the flames. The pipeline, which carries a quarter of Iraq's oil exports, has been attacked several times in the past, sometimes cutting oil flows from Iraq for days. PKK has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks. On August 6, Iraq's oil flow to Turkey was cut for days after a fire erupted in the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. Turkish officials blamed PKK rebels for the explosion. The pipeline has also been repeatedly attacked by insurgents inside Iraq since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003. The 970-kilometre pipeline runs from Iraq's northern oil hub of Kirkuk to the port of Ceyhan on Turkey's Mediterranean coast and pumps an estimated 450,000 to 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day. HM/JR