06-29-2006, 06:57 AM
AMMAN (Dow Jones)--Iraq is expected to restart pumping crude to Ceyhan later Thursday or early Friday when ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM) begins loading Kirkuk crude at the Turkish terminal for the first time in a year, a shipping agent said Wednesday.
"The Iraqis said that they would resume pumping via the pipeline when loading started from stores which are currently full," the shipping agent told Dow Jones Newswires by telephone from the Turkish port, noting that production had stopped on Sunday.
06-29-2006, 03:06 PM
BEIJI, Iraq - For more than two years the attacks came like clockwork. As soon as the military secured and workers repaired the pipelines from Iraq (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=Iraq)'s northern oil fields, just when the valves were about to open, insurgents would strike. But roughly three weeks ago they suddenly stopped, letting crude oil flow freely from Iraq's vast reserves near Kirkuk.
Perhaps insurgents feared reprisals in Salahuddin province, where pipelines from Kirkuk flow to the country's largest refinery in Beiji. Maybe terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death disrupted a chain of command that ordered the attacks, military officials said.
Whatever the cause, the U.S. forces welcome the change, even if history since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 has shown the free flow of oil in Iraq is only temporary at best.
"I just hope that it lasts long enough where people start realizing 'Damn, we're making money. We could be rich like Kuwaitis," said Army Lt. Col. Craig Collier, deputy commander of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. "But what is really going on? We don't know."
In the past three weeks, Iraq has exported 6.2 million barrels of crude to Turkey from its northern fields. Total exports from Iraq in that period, including the oil fields in the south, have increased to 2.5 million barrels per day, the highest level since the invasion, the Oil Ministry reported.
With a going market price of $60 a barrel in Turkey, military officials believe exports so far equate to about $372 million since oil began flowing from the north. Oil is the biggest source of income for the Iraqi government, which is struggling to curb violence and restore the supply of electricity and water.
Iraq, a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, sits atop the world's third-highest proven reserves. With an estimated 115 billion barrels, exceeded in OPEC (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=OPEC) only by Saudi Arabia and Iran (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=Iran), the Bush administration predicted three years ago that Iraq would finance its own reconstruction.
And there's no telling how high in government those who profit sit, he said.
"The web goes all the way to Baghdad and back, when we're talking about who takes money and who benefits," said Lackey, who works with city officials in Beiji and Siniyah, both near the refinery, to help secure the oil infrastructure.
Whether the break in attacks is a sign of progress or only periodic calm, oil is flowing fast.
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