BAGHDAD, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Multinational forces were called on to ramp up their patrols in northern Iraq to protect vital oil export arteries, a spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry said.
Iraqi oil officials said it could take several days before oil exports resume through a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan following a militant attack during the weekend. Assem Jihad, the spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry, called on U.S. and coalition forces to step up their regional patrols, al-Jazeera reports.
"We are asking the multinational forces to carry out more patrols to protect the pipeline, which was sabotaged for the fourth time in six weeks," he said. "We will not know when exports will resume until we have surveyed the damage."
The Ceyhan link carried roughly 435,000 barrels of oil per day. Jihad said he sent representatives from regional oil companies to survey the damage.
The attack follows relative calm in the region, though oil pipelines have been targeted frequently since October. Iraq earlier this month, meanwhile, held its second round of post-war oil auctions, handing out contracts for some of its richest oil fields.