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UPDATE 1-Iraq sells 2.5 mln bbls Kirkuk oil to Exxon, Tupras

(Adds details, background)

DUBAI, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Iraq has sold a total of 2.5 million barrels of Kirkuk crude to U.S. major Exxon Mobil XOM.N and Turkish refiner Tupras TUPRS.IS in a tender, an Iraq oil ministry source said on Wednesday.

Iraq will issue a new tender to sell up to 5 million barrels more of Kirkuk oil “very shortly”, the source added.

The source declined to say how many of the 2.5 million barrels would go to Exxon and how many would go to Tupras. The oil is to be loaded at the Turkish terminal of Ceyhan before Oct. 5, he said.

Storage tanks in Ceyhan receive sporadic deliveries of Kirkuk crude by pipeline from Iraq’s northern oilfields. Iraq has pumped around 7.5 million barrels through the line in the past month.

A vessel at Ceyhan was on Wednesday loading the last of around 4.6-4.7 million barrels of Kirkuk crude awarded in a previous sale earlier this month.

The next Kirkuk tender will be the third Iraq has issued in a month and the fifth this year.

Sabotage attacks have kept pumping along the route mostly idle since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The pipeline is Iraq’s secondary export route, and when it is down the country relies on its main export terminal in the south at Basra to ship around 1.5 million barrels per day.

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