12/5/2012 5:16 PM

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: The Iraqi Ministry of Oil began operating the first phase of the alternate strategic pipeline in Basra.

In a statement Oil Minister Abdul Karim Laibi announced that the first operation was made today (Tuesday) by pumping 800.000 barrels from the main pumping station in Basra passing through the second pumping station in Samawa till arriving in Najaf.

These stations are the first stage of the project that extends to 441 kilometers, which were completed in ten months period.

This project will supply refineries and power generating stations in Dora, Nassiriya, Samawa, Diwaniya and Najaf with necessary crude oil and fuels.

The costs of the first stage reached to 70 billion Iraqi dinars, in addition to buying equipment with the amount of $350 million.

The old strategic pipeline was built in 1971 with a length of 669 kilometers, connecting Rumaila oil fields in Basra with Haditha in Anbar province, west of Iraq.

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