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March 24, 2003
 
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Developments in Iraq's Oil Fields
Developments in Iraq's Oil Fields, World Oil Markets

The Associated Press


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March 24

THE OIL FIELDS: Fighting around seven burning oil wells in the Rumeila South oil field in southern Iraq has driven out some civilian firefighters, an official said Monday. U.S.-led forces had previously thought the field's facilities were secure. "It's not nearly as safe as they said it was," said Brian Krause, vice president and senior blowout specialist for Houston-based Boots and Coots. "We're kind of sitting ducks out there."

U.S. Marines declared the field unsafe for journalists to visit Monday, and canceled plans for a media tour. "Coalition forces consider it to be secured. That doesn't mean that there's not still hostile fire going on in the region in small pockets of resistance," said U.S. military spokeswoman Maj. Randi Steffy.

However, Kuwaiti firefighters working 1.2 miles inside Iraq put out the first fire quenched so far at a booby-trapped Iraqi oil well. Kuwait's senior firefighter, Aisa Bouyabes, said he believes his team and others can douse the six remaining fires in the Rumeila South field within two weeks.

Allied forces have made a priority of securing Iraqi oil installations to prevent their possible sabotage by Iraqis. Bouyabes said he found electrical wires at several damaged well heads that were the same as the wires Iraqi troops used to blow up Kuwait wells in 1991.

IRAQI EXPORTS: The pipeline from Iraq's northern oil field of Kirkuk continues to pump crude, but at a reduced rate, to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, market sources said Monday. Sources said crude is flowing to Ceyhan at a daily rate of 200,000-300,000 barrels, down from 800,000-900,000 barrels before fighting began.

Oil exports from the Iraqi Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr were halted earlier, following the withdrawal of all U.N. staff from Iraq on March 18. Iraq exported about 2 million barrels a day in total before hostilities.

THE MARKET: Crude prices surged Monday on market fears that the war might take longer than some had anticipated, and because of a disruption of supplies from Nigeria caused by unrest. May contracts of North Sea Brent, Europe's benchmark crude, jumped $1.47 a barrel to $25.82 in late trading in London. Contracts of U.S. light, sweet crude for May delivery were trading $1.29 higher at $28.20 a barrel in New York.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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