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Official: Iraqi Kurds start pumping from seized oilfield

July 18, 2014 6:12 A.M. (Updated: July 18, 2014 6:12 A.M.)
KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) -- Iraq's autonomous region of Kurdistan on Thursday pumped an experimental 20,000 barrels of light crude from an oilfield recently seized from the federal authorities, an official said.

It was the first time the Kurds pumped oil from Bai Hassan field -- 35 miles northwest of the city Kirkuk and used to average 190,000 barrels per day -- since they claimed control of it on July 11, a senior source in the Iraqi North Oil company told AFP.

The Kurdistan regional government encountered some difficulties connecting Bai Hassan to the Kurdish-run Kharmala Dome oil field, but will make another attempt on Friday, the official said.

The move is likely to further enrage Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has accused the Kurds of taking advantage of the chaos that erupted when jihadist-led militants swept large swathes of the country last month.

The Kurds and their well-trained Peshmerga force moved into long-disputed areas -- including the oil-rich region of Kirkuk -- when federal forces retreated in the face of the militant onslaught.
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