BAGHDAD — An American agency monitoring reconstruction in Iraq said Friday that oil exports through Iraq’s
northern pipeline rose more than tenfold over the past year, citing a sharp drop
in attacks on the pipeline and new infrastructure built to protect it.
The agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, said in a report for release on Saturday that there had been no insurgent attacks on the pipeline, which exports crude oil from northern Iraq to Turkey, since the American infrastructure project began last July.
As a result, crude oil exports from Iraq’s north rose from an average of 1 million barrels a month to more than 13 million, the report said. Nearly all of the Iraqi government’s revenue comes from oil exports, so the increased flow has direct implications for people here. The increased exports were worth $8 billion, the report said.
To protect the pipeline, berms, fences and guardhouses were built, and American soldiers patrol its 60-mile length. Iraqi guards monitor its perimeter; Iraq’s government has promised to commit almost 800 Iraqi soldiers to take over for the American patrols.
Ginger M. Cruz, the deputy inspector general, said the overall decline in violence in Iraq had helped account for the $34 million project’s success. The rise in oil exports marked a sharp turnaround from earlier years, when Sunni Arab insurgents staged relentless attacks on the pipeline, often stopping the flow of oil.
The supply of crude oil has been flowing to the key northern Baiji refinery, which has helped increase the production of electricity, the report said.
In political news, a religious leader and member of Parliament, Sheik Jalaladeen al-Sagheer, spoke out Friday against the Parliament’s recent decision not to allow campaigns to use religious symbols or canvass in mosques ahead of Iraq’s provincial elections.
Sheik Sagheer, a member of one of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite parties, said mosques were reasonable venues for campaigns.
“There are no other places for the candidates to clarify their campaign goals to voters,” he said during a Friday sermon.
Also on Friday, the American military acknowledged that it unintentionally killed the son of an editor of an American-financed newspaper in the northern city of Kirkuk on Thursday. The military said soldiers had been fired at from a taxi and shot back, hitting Arkan al-Naiemi, 14, in the taxi.