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Page added on March 30, 2008

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Iraq’s oil exports, refinery operations back to normal, official says

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s oil exports and refining operations in the southern oil port of Basra are running normally after sabotage attacks and power outages disrupted operations, an official with the country’s South Oil Co. said Saturday.

Basra has faced fierce clashes since fighting broke out Tuesday between government security forces and Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Amid the chaos, a bomb on Thursday struck the Zubair-1 pipeline that sends crude oil from the Basra Zubair oil field to tanks for Iraq’s two exporting terminals on the Gulf: al-Umaiya and Basra.

“Everything returned to normal as of 10 p.m. Thursday,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release information.

“We had to shut down the whole system for a while to allow firefighters to extinguish the fire and to determine the damages in the system,” the official told the Associated Press in a telephone interview from Baghdad.


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