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Iraq Rumaila oilfield to resume output 2 days after repair

Workers repair oil pipelines at Rumaila oil fields, near the southern city of Basra, Iraq.

DUBAI: Output at Rumaila, Iraq’s largest oilfield, will resume at more than 1.2 million barrels a day within 48 hours of the completion of repairs from a sabotage attack, an Oil Ministry spokesman said.

“Technicians and engineers at the South Oil Co. are working to repair and replace parts that were damaged by the two explosive charges that targeted the pipeline network transporting crude oil from Rumaila on Friday,” Asim Jihad said by telephone Sunday from Baghdad. Exports of crude were unaffected by the attacks Friday, and “shipments from the southern ports are taking place in a normal manner,” he said.

Rumaila in southern Iraq is being developed by BP Plc, China National Petroleum Corp. and state-run South Oil. The companies have announced plans to triple output and make Rumaila the world’s second-largest producing field. The Middle Eastern nation, holder of the fifth-largest crude deposits, relies on oil sales for most of its revenue, which it needs to rebuild the economy after decades of war and sanctions.

Production at Rumaila will resume at “the normal level” of more than 1.2 million barrels within the next two days, Jihad said. BP said Sept. 20 that a fire at a nearby natural-gas processing unit had temporarily halted production at the field.

Iraqi oil production reached 2.93 million barrels a day last Thursday, the highest level in more than 20 years, according to an Oil Ministry statement. Output from Basra, the country’s southern oil-industry hub, reached 2.2 million barrels a day, according to the ministry.

Iraq seeks to boost output to 3 million barrels a day by the end of this year from 2.4 million barrels in 2010, Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said on Sept. 11. Hussain al- Shahristani, the deputy prime minister for energy affairs, said in July that Iraq was determined to raise production to 12 million barrels a day by 2017.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 10, 2011, on page 5.

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