basra oil pipeline blast cuts flows

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    BAGHDAD, Nov 22: An oil pipeline explosion in southern Iraq cut flows to the main export outlet of Basra by at least 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Monday.

    The blast stopped supplies through the smaller of two main southern oil export pipelines. One million bpd was still flowing through the other pipeline to the Basra Oil Terminal, the source added.

    Loadings were proceeding normally from Basra despite the explosion, shipping sources said. The terminal reopened late on Sunday after a four day halt caused by bad weather.

    "There is no impact yet. It will take a bit of time," a shipping agent in the region said. " Loading rates at Basra were near full capacity at 77,000 barrels per hour, equivalent to 1.8 million barrels per day.

    It was not immediately clear how long the pipeline would take to repair. The official did not know whether the damage was caused by saboteurs, since the pipeline runs below ground level making attacks difficult.

    Exports flows from Iraq's southern ports have been close to capacity for nearly three months as sabotage attacks against oil infrastructure abated. Iraq's northern export pipeline was sabotaged in mid-November, halting flows to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. Iraq had been pumping about 500,000 bpd through the northern pipeline to Turkey's Ceyhan port earlier this month. -Reuters

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