Pipeline Blast Causes
Huge Iraq Fire

From Correspondents in Kirkuk, Iraq

(AFP) - An important gas pipeline had been blown up near Iraq's northern oil centre of Kirkuk, causing a huge fire, oil company officials said.
The head of the fire department at the Kirkuk-based North Oil Company, Jumaa Ahmed, confirmed an explosive device caused the blast on the pipeline, which transports gas from the Jambur oil field to the refinery in Baiji, 250km north of Baghdad.
The blaze was so big that its glow could be seen in the night sky from Kirkuk, 30km to the north of Jambur.
The explosion is latest in a long series of attacks against Iraq's oil infrastructure, blamed by the US-led coalition ruling Iraq on loyalists of toppled president Saddam Hussein and Islamic militants.
The gas pipeline fed the power plant in Baiji and Ahmed said he expected the city's refinery to experience production problems because of the fire.
The 300,000 barrels a day Baiji refinery is Iraq's largest and newest refinery, built in the 1980s.
It is supplied mainly from the northern oil fields around Kirkuk.
Jambur is one of the main fields in northern Iraq. Before the US-led invasion it produced about 75,000 barrels a day.




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