Kurds point to leaks on export pipeline

Sept. 16, 2011 at 8:32 AM

ERBIL, Iraq, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The Kurdistan Regional Government was falsely accused of a stoppage of oil exports from Iraq, the Kurdish minister of natural resources said.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, in statements Monday, deflected criticism that it was at fault for the halt of oil production from its territory. The KRG admitted there were shortfalls in the past but said this was because fields operated by the North Oil Co. weren't producing "sufficient volumes."

Kurdish Minister of Natural Resource Ashti Hawrami, in statements to regional news agency Rudaw, again blamed the North Oil Co., saying leaks were reported on export pipelines because the company was using too much pressure on the lines.

"It would appear that this time, the whole pipeline export system is down, but we hope that it will be repaired very soon by NOC to enable us to continue with the KRG export as before," he was quoted as saying.

His statements follow appeals by London-listed Gulf Keystone Petroleum for a new oil pipeline in Iraq to meet anticipated growth.

"A feasibility study for such a pipeline has already been completed and we are in the process of submitting it for all necessary approvals," said Gulf Keystone Chief Executive Officer Todd Kozel said in a statement.

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