Explosion prepared by suspected insurgents set fire to the main oil pipeline in northern Iraq on Thursday, officials said. The pipeline links an oil field in the northern city of Kirkuk to Iraq's largest oil refinery in Beiji, 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad.
The explosion occurred at about 5 a.m., setting fire to the pipeline and several oil valves about 55 kilometers (34 miles) west of Kirkuk, said firefighter Adil Mohammed.
"The damage is 100 percent, and we've haven't been able to control the fire yet," he said.
An official with the Northern Oil Co., which operates the pipeline and the refinery, confirmed the attack. He spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with his company's policy.
Iraq has the world's third-largest known oil reserves, but the industry has been crippled by several wars, sanctions during Saddam Hussein's rule and the anti-U.S. insurgency.
Oil production remains limited, curbed by decaying infrastructure and frequent militant attacks on pipelines and refineries, reports the AP.
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