The explosion damaged the pipeline connecting the Janbur and Kirkuk oilfields. There is no information yet as to the extent of the damage.

It is unclear as to whether the attack will delay exports from Kirkuk to the Turkish terminal of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. It is these exports that the US are relying on to help pay for the war-damaged country’s reconstruction.

Commander Saleh Mouhammad, a civil defence representative, said the blast happened aout 15 kilometres south of Kirkuk, according to AFP.

The US-led Coalition Provisional Authority said in a telephone interview that it could not confirm the balst.