Sep 26 2015

Oil exports from northern Iraq to Turkey restart - Kurdish ministry

(Updates with quotes, background)

ERBIL, Iraq, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Oil exports from northern Iraq have restarted after "thieves" sabotaged the main pipeline to Turkey, the Kurdistan region's ministry of natural resources said in a statement on Saturday.

The flow of crude resumed on Friday following an outage of around 9 hours, the ministry said in the statement.

The pipeline, which pumps oil to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan from fields in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region and Kirkuk, has been repeatedly targeted inside Turkey since a ceasefire between Ankara and Kurdish militants broke down in late July.

Exports from northern Iraq fell to an average of 472,832 barrels per day (bpd) in August from 516,745 the previous month as a result of damage to the pipeline, which is the region's main economic lifeline.
"Without such revenue, salaries of peshmerga forces, the security forces and other key government workers cannot get paid," the ministry said in a statement. "These treacherous acts of theft and sabotage harm the ability of Kurds across the region to fight Islamic State terrorism."