At the end of October, Iraqi police forces based near Basra in southern Iraq , reported that an explosion of a gas pipeline has killed three people and injured at least fifty. The blast , occurred near the southern Iraqi city of As-Samawah, some 270 km (170 miles) south of the capital Baghdad, on a pipeline connecting the rich southern gas fields to power stations situated in major settlements in southern Iraq including Baghdad and Basra. Reuters states local police reports suggest that the explosion occurred on a section of the pipeline which had leaked in the past. Meanwhile a statement from the military said the cause of the explosion was, as yet, unknown.
After closing a section of the damaged pipeline local firefighters succeeded in extinguishing the post explosion fire. The Iraqi Oil Ministry has sent a repair crew to assess and make good the damaged sections. Meanwhile, an alternative nearby pipeline has been brought into operation to continue supplying local gas-fuelled power stations.
Deputy Oil Minister, Hamid Younis, has said in a statement that an investigation as to the cause of the blast has been launched.