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Oil Flowing Again to Southern Iraqi Port

Oil was again flowing in southern Iraq Sunday after crews completed key repairs on a pipeline sabotaged by insurgents, an oil company official said.

Exports of up to 900,000 barrels a day were expected to resume later Sunday, a representative of the state-run Southern Oil Company (search) said. The official declined to be named.

Iraqi officials halted exports of crude oil (search) Wednesday after sabotage attacks damaged two pipelines that can carry over 1.5 million barrels a day to offshore terminals in the Gulf.

Only the smaller of the two southern lines has been repaired. Repairs on the larger line were expected to take up to six days, the official said.

Iraq's other major export route for crude — a pipeline from the oil-rich northern region near Kirkuk (search) to the Turkish port of Ceyhan — has been a frequent target of saboteurs and has operated infrequently and at a much reduced rate since the U.S.-led invasion.

Iraq has the world's second-largest oil reserves. But years of war, U.N. sanctions and mismanagement have left Iraq with dilapidated and obsolete oil facilities, and Iraqis have failed to restore crude exports to prewar levels of more than 2 million barrels a day.