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Iran mostly contains fire after southwest oil pipeline spill

FILE PHOTO: A gas flare on an oil production platform is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Gulf July 25, 2005. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) -Firefighters have contained most of a blaze that broke out after a pipeline carrying crude oil to Iran’s second-largest refinery ruptured on Sunday because of a landslide, the head of the state company in charge of oil pipelines said.

“Most of the fire ... has been contained and operations teams are repairing the damaged section of the pipeline,” Qasem Arab Yarmohammadi told the Oil Ministry’s news agency, SHANA.

“Landslides have a long history in this area,” said Arab Yarmohammadi, chief executive of the Iranian Oil Pipeline and Telecommunications Company.

Khosro Kiani, an emergency official in southwestern Iran, where the blaze occurred, said earlier that the oil had spilled down a hard-to-access valley, which firefighting equipment could not reach, the semi-official news agency Tasnim reported.

The damaged Maroun pipeline feeds the Isfahan refinery, which has a capacity of about 375,000 barrels a day.

Iran’s ageing oil infrastructure has long been in need of rehabilitation, as refurbishment plans have been delayed by Western sanctions and local bureaucracy, analysts say.

There have been several earlier instances of spillage from the pipeline that have adversely affected the region’s agriculture and fishing, state news agency IRNA reported.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Barbara Lewis and Peter Cooney

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