Iraq jihadist group ISIS occupies long sections of oil pipeline via Turkey

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By Shaymaa Adel

Azzaman, April 15, 2014

Iraq has almost given up hope, at least for the time being, to repair damage inflicted on its oil pipeline via Turkey, according to sources at the state-run North Oil Company.

The company, based in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, administers the pipeline in Iraqi Territory. It says the pipeline, which used to carry up to 600,000 barrels of oil a day, has been shut since March and it will probably remain so for a long time.

The sources said ISIS jihadists control long sections of the pipeline as it passes through the restive Muslim Sunni-dominated provinces of Salahudeen and Nineveh.

ISIS is the Islamic State for Iraq and the Levant. Its militants are fighting government troops in the Province of Anbar, where they are in control of the strategic town of Falluja and certain quarters of the provincial capital, Ramadi.

The sources said the pipeline has been targeted eight times this month with repair teams unable to reach the location of damage to have it repaired.

“Whenever we try to pump even experimentally the pipeline is blown up after a few hours,” one well-place source said.

“Every time we send our repair teams, they come under fire and last time some of them were injured on their way to the location of the attack,” the source added.

The line, built in the 1980s, has a capacity of 1,600 barrels per day but repeated attacks, disrepair and neglect have reduced it to 600,000 barrels.

The Oil Ministry is considering building a new pipeline to Turkey that passes through Kurdish territory in northern Iraq.

But experts advise against the move, fearing the Kurds might use it for their advantage and it may not be immune from attacks.