BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) – A gas pipeline exploded near Basra in southern Iraq on Wednesday and halted supplies to a local power station, but did not affect gas or oil output, oil ministry officials and police said.
A technical fault due to scorching summer temperatures appeared to have caused the blast in al-Haritha 10 km (6 miles) north of Basra, a police source said.
Gas running to the station was cut off while local emergency services put out the ensuing fire, civil defense officials said. Iraq’s electricity suffers longer cuts than usual during its hot summers because of increased strain on its grid.
Most oil exports from Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, come from Basra. Iraq currently produces well below its output capacity of nearly 5 million barrels per day.
Reporting by Aref Mohammed, writing by John Davison