Iraq: Bomb attacks force drop in oil production

December 14, 2011 - 5:51 AM

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqi Oil Ministry says production at the country's largest oil field has been cut in half by bomb attacks on domestic oil pipelines.

Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said Wednesday that pumping from southern Iraq's Rumaila field fell after Tuesday night's two explosions to 700,000 barrels per day, down from 1.4 million barrels.

He says that Iraq's oil exports were not affected, and that the pipelines should be repaired in about a week.

Pipeline bombings which were common at the height of the country's violence in 2004-2008 have become rare in southern Iraq, where international oil companies have begun flooding in to help develop the country's vast oil reserves.

The 17.8 billion-barrel Rumaila field is being developed by Britain's BP and China's CNPC.