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Progress made securing Iraqi oil fields

By Justin Dial
CNN


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SPECIAL REPORT
•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
•  Weapons: 3D Models

DOHA, Qatar (CNN) -- Coalition forces have made significant progress toward securing Iraqi oil fields and extinguishing wellhead fires ignited there by Iraqi forces, according to the British press officer at U.S. Central Command Headquarters in Qatar.

Three fires in the South Rumaila field have been extinguished, he said, leaving six wellhead fires still burning. Kuwaiti fire teams have been fighting the blazes.

British explosives ordnance teams have also secured wellheads in the northern Rumaila fields, offshore terminals of the Faw Peninsula, the port of Mina al Bakr and the Khor al Amaya area are also secure and safe, the press officer said. All the sites are in Iraq's southern coastal region.

The remaining oil fires, in south Rumaila, may take up to three weeks to extinguish.

A U.S. rapid response assessment team now in the area estimated that it will cost approximately $1 billion to upgrade the nation's oil infrastructure.

Iraq will be in position to resume exporting oil within three months, the press officer said.

President Bush on Tuesday asked Congress for $489.3 million to cover the cost of repairing damage to Iraq's oil facilities.

Getting the nation's oil fields to pre-1991 production levels will take at least 18 months and cost about $5 billion initially, with $3 billion more in annual operating expenses, according to a recent study by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.


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