They advise that the flow of oil through the pipeline between Kirkuk and Ceyhan stopped
at 18.39 (local time) on Sunday evening, 28 February.
The Saybolt independent inspection agents based at the metering station at Zakho near
Iraq's border with Turkey were advised by their Iraqi counterparts that the pipeline had
been shut down because of the loss of a communications repeater station about 125
kilometres away. It was considered unsafe to operate the pipeline without adequate
However, there was an attempt that evening to operate the pipeline manually. This did
not work and at 22.20 hours Sunday evening pumping stopped and has not resumed.
On 2 March, Saybolt agents were asked to visit Ain Zalah and inspect alleged missile
damage to the communications facility there. Ain Zalah is about 40 kilometres from Zakho.
Saybolt has been in contact with senior officials of Iraq's Northern Oil Company which
operates the pipeline. They have been advised that the NOC is working to bridge the
communications gap caused by the loss of the repeater station. They hope to restore the
communications chain between Kirkuk and Ceyhan and say that this could - possibly -
be achieved some time later today.
Saybolt's agents have observed Iraqi technicians working on restoring the
IF -- and I would stress that there is an IF -- communications links are restored,
Saybolt advise that pumping could resume almost immediately.
Up until now there has been NO interruption in the export of Iraqi oil via Ceyhan.
Ships have continued to load oil as scheduled. As of this morning there was 2.38 million
barrels in storage at Ceyhan with ships scheduled to load 1.8 million barrels starting
If the pipeline is back in operation within the coming 24 hours, Saybolt advise that
the loading schedule at Ceyhan will continue with only minimal delays.
However, if the work underway is not successful and the NOC finds it has to replace
damaged systems then the interruption could last some weeks - how long is impossible to
estimate, as it would depend on the availability of spares and equipment.
As you know the pipeline to Ceyhan carries half of Iraq's oil exports. Currently Iraq
is exporting 2 million barrels a day for an average price of around nine dollars a barrel.
I am making available to members of the Council reports from the
Saybolt's agents on the extent of damage at the Repeater station and also at the
communications facility at Ain Zalah which was damaged on Monday.
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