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Thu 3 Apr 2008 05:13 PM

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Iraq's southern oilfields resume production

Oil flows again from 100,000 bpd fields after last week's bomb blast forced closure.

Iraq has partially restarted output from southern oilfields that pump around 100,000 barrels per day and were shut down after a bomb attack on a pipeline last week, an Iraqi oil official said on Thursday.

Production restarted from the Bazargan and Majnoon oilfields at 10.00 a.m. (0700 GMT) after Iraqi engineers connected a bypass for a damaged section of the pipeline from Bazargan, the official said. He was unable to say how much oil was flowing from the two fields.

The Bin Umar field remained shut, but was ready to restart and awaiting the government's order to go ahead, he said.

"We resumed pumping crude this morning from Bazargan and Majnoon oil fields and Bin Umar field is ready to pump as soon as instructions are received," he told Reuters.

Before the shutdown on March 27, the three fields were pumping about 100,000 bpd, the official said.

Southern oil exports were also affected, although Iraq has used oil in storage at both the fields and the Basra oil terminal to minimise the impact on shipments.

The bypassed section of the pipeline would need more time for full repair, the official added. He could not say how long it would take.

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