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Pipe attack 'slows Iraq oil flow'

A suspected sabotage attack on an Iraqi oil pipeline has caused a significant drop in exports, reports say.

Coalition forces have contained a fire at the pipeline on the southern tip of the Faw Peninsula, blown up on Sunday.

A spokesman told BBC News Online the flow of oil through the pipe, which feeds the al-Basra terminal, was "slowed but not stopped".

But the director of the main port terminal told AFP news agency, exports had been halved following the attack.

Ali Nasr al-Rubaie said: "We have dropped from an average of 80,000 barrels per hour to 40,000 barrels per hour," he said.

The al-Basra terminal, together with the smaller Khor al-Amaya terminal, in southern Iraq jointly export 1.6 million barrels daily.

Sunday's attack came just two weeks after coalition forces in southern Iraq foiled suicide boat attacks on oil tankers at the southern terminals.

Editorial Notes: A conflicting account stating exports were 'unaffected' is published here: quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000102&sid=aQXCLyHMXiYQ&refer=uk A website monitoring attacks on Iraqi pipelines, oil installations, and oil personnel exists here: www.iags.org/n042604.htm

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