Iraq shut down crude exports to Turkey through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline on Wednesday due to a leak, two sources at Iraq's North Oil Company said.
"There was a leak from the pipeline ... because the pipe was old. The North Oil Company has decided to stop pumping oil to the export pipeline," said a senior NOC official who asked not to be named.
Iraq exported 461,000 barrels per day of crude from its northern fields in August, most of it through the Kirkuk pipeline to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. The bulk of Iraq's total exports of 2.189 million bpd in August moved through the southern export terminals at Basra.
An NOC production engineer confirmed the Kirkuk-Ceyhan shutdown and said it was not immediately clear when exports would resume. "Exports from Kirkuk were halted due to a leakage resulting from a crack in the export pipeline passing through (the town of) Shirqat this morning," the engineer said.
"NOC workers are working to fix the damaged section and it's difficult to give an accurate time when exports could be resumed." Shirqat is near the border of Nineveh and Salahuddin provinces about 300 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad.
Production at the northern fields has not been stopped and crude was being pumped into storage tanks in Kirkuk and elsewhere, the senior NOC official said.