Pentagon: 10 Iraqi oil wells have been torched

Monday, March 24, 2003

The U.S. Defense Department has determined that the regime of President Saddam Hussein has torched 10 Iraqi oil wells.

Pentagon officials said all of the fields were in southern Iraq and were torched during the first 36 hours of the war. They said that since late Friday there have not been any reports of oil wells being set on fire.

The southern Iraqi reserves at Rumeila is said to have more than 500 oil wells, according to Middle East Newsline. Seven of the wells were torched and two were destroyed.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he does not believe that the Saddam regime will be able to destroy additional oil fields. Rumsfeld suggested that the amount of damage to Iraq's oil sector was surprisingly small.

"It's a wonderful thing that only 10 of those wells are ablaze, and the rest of them, apparently, at the moment, secure," Rumsfeld said on Sunday.

"Sufficiently, that unless there is a surprise, and there are deeply buried explosives that go off, we think the bulk of that oil field is safe for the Iraqi people, because it's going to be needed to provide for their needs."

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