Blast, followed by fire, hits Iran oil pipeline

Last Updated: Friday, August 5, 2011 - 22:48

Tehran: An explosion struck an oil pipeline in
Iran`s oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan early
today, triggering a blaze that took firefighters hours to put
out, news agencies reported.

Abdohossein Rezaeizadeh, spokesman for the provinces`
branch of the Iranian national oil company, told the official
IRNA news agency that the causes of the blast and the
subsequent fire were under investigation.

There were no immediate reports whether anyone was
injured in the incident.

The semi-official Mehr news agency said the explosion
happened at around 1:30 a.m near Susa, some 700 kilometers
southwest of Tehran. The flames rose 40 meters up into the
sky, the report said.

The pipeline feeds up to 4,000 barrels of oil a day to
the nearby Ahvaz oil processing unit, some 100 kilometers
south of the site of the explosion.

Iran`s oil and gas sector has been hit by an increasing
number of explosions recently but authorities rarely provide
any explanation for them.

Most of the pipelines are decades old and encumbered with
lack of maintenance and frequent technical failures. However,
there have been occasional cases of sabotage, mostly reported
in the northwest.

Last week, an explosion struck a major pipeline carrying
gas to Turkey. The blast, which temporarily cut the gas flow,
took place in morning hours near a border crossing but no one
was injured. Authorities blamed it on Kurdish rebels operating
in the area.

In April, three explosions hit gas pipelines near the
holy city of Qom in central Iran, briefly cutting the flow of
gas from Iran`s gas refineries in the south to the country`s
northwest.

Similar explosions rocked the pipeline in the same area
in February. Officials at the time said the blasts were not
caused by technical failures but did not say if they were acts
of sabotage.

Iran is OPEC`s second largest oil exporter, and sits atop
137 billion barrels of conventional crude oil. It also holds
the world`s second largest natural gas reserves roughly 28
trillion cubic meters.

Some 80 per cent of the country`s foreign revenue comes
from exporting crude.

PTI



First Published: Friday, August 5, 2011 - 22:48

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