Multiple bomb attacks set oil pipelines ablaze in southern Iraq, partially halting production but leaving exports unaffected, oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said on Wednesday.
“Around 9:00 pm (1800 GMT Tuesday), several bombs damaged pipelines transporting oil from the Rumaila-south oil field to the Zubair-1 storage facility,” Jihad told AFP, referring to sites in south Iraq.
“This sabotage sparked a large fire which was brought under control at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) on Wednesday. Exports were not affected by these attacks. Repairs should take around one week.”
Jihad said production at Rumaila-south of 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) was reduced by 700,000 bpd.
A security official in Basra, Iraq’s southernmost province where the attacks took place, said a total of three blasts targeted the pipelines.
Ali Ghanim al-Maliki, head of Basra provincial council’s security committee, told AFP that the bombs had damaged pipelines in al-Berjasiyah, 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Basra city.
Iraq is dependent on oil exports for virtually all of its government income. The country produces around 2.9 million bpd, of which some 2.1 million bpd is exported.
It aims to raise the former figure to around 12 million bpd by 2017.
The attacks come with just weeks to go before the US military completes a full withdrawal from Iraq, at which point security will be handled entirely by domestic forces.