Eight killed, injured as North Oil Company’s pipeline explodes in Kirkuk

06 Aug 2003, Kirkuk, Iraq — A worker maintains production at the North Oil Company in Kirkuk. North Oil Company, which produces two-thirds of Iraq’s total, has been unable to export due to sabotage on the pipeline, twice last month. — Image by © Ed Kashi/Corbis

Kirkuk ( Eight employees of the North Oil Company (NOC) were killed and injured in a blast that occurred due to a malfunction, a source from the company said on Thursday.

Speaking to Baghdad Today, the source said, “two employees, including a chief engineer, were killed, while six others were wounded as a pipeline exploded due to a malfunction.”

raq is the second-largest producer and member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) after Saudi Arabia. Home to a large number of oilfields, Kirkuk exports oil through the Mediterranean seaport of Ceyhan in Turkey. However, oil fields in Kirkuk have always been a target for militant groups.

Kirkuk is one area where Kurdistan region disputes sovereignty with Iraq. Two oil fields in the province are under the control of the Kurdistan Region, while three others are run by the Iraqi government’s NOC.

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State Sunni extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

A monthly count by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), which excludes security members deaths, said 297 Iraqis, were killed and injured due to violence and armed conflicts during the month of ِAugust. Baghdad was the most affected province with 45 deaths and 135 injuries.

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