Explosion causes Kurdish power outages

Dana Gas reports rupture to pipeline running through northern Iraq.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Feb. 1, 2016 at 5:59 AM
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SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Emirati energy company Dana Gas said no injuries were reported when a natural gas pipeline in the Kurdish north of Iraq ruptured near Kirkuk, causing outages.

Dana said gas flows were halted between the Chemchemal power station and a power station in Erbil, the capital of the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.

"This resulted in the isolation of the gas pipeline and the shut-down of the Khor Mor plant for a few hours," the company said in a statement. "No casualties or injuries have been reported."

The cause of the incident remains under investigation, though the company was clear the rupture was not the result of operational or pipeline integrity issues. There were no immediate indications the rupture and subsequent blast was the result of military operations or terrorist attacks in the region.

Half of the power to the area was interrupted. The Kurdish government is working alongside Dana to investigate the cause and contractors were called up to facilitate repairs.

Areas south of the Kurdish region have struggled with reliability electricity at least since the U.S. intervention in the early 2000s, though the north has been relatively stable.

The Emirati company said it would be about a week before full services were restored in the Kurdish region.

Last month, Dana filed a claim against the Kurdish government in part for "interference" in its long-term rights over the Chemchemal field. The KRG made a counter-claim, saying Dana was selectively assessing its contracts.

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