Fire rages at south Iraq oil field after blast

AFP , Tuesday 20 Sep 2011

An explosion at Iraq's biggest oil field near Kuwait causes an unknown death toll and fires that continue to rage

A fire broke out at Iraq's biggest oil field on Tuesday after an explosion when a maintenance team was changing equipment, an official in the state-owned South Oil Company said.

The official, who declined to be identified, said members of the maintenance team were killed and wounded, but did not have more specific details. He added that the fire was not yet under control.

The Rumaila oil field where the explosion took place is the country's biggest, with proven reserves of 17.7 billion barrels of oil. It lies along Iraq's border with Kuwait.

In mid-2009, Baghdad awarded a contract to Britain's BP and China's CNPC to boost output at the field.

An oil ministry spokesman did not immediately respond to AFP requests for comment.

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