Skip to comments.Oil majors cut staff in Iraq on fears violence will spread
Posted on 06/17/2014 8:01:51 PM PDT by Citizen Zed
Some oil companies are pulling foreign staff from Iraq, fearing Sunni militants from the north could strike at major oilfields concentrated in the Shi'ite south despite moves by the Baghdad government to tighten security.
Iraqi officials say the southern regions that produce some 90 percent of the country's oil are completely safe from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has seized much of the north in a week as Baghdad's forces there collapsed.
The government says 100,000 police dedicated to protecting oil facilities are on high alert and well armed.
But oil firms are taking no chances with the foreign expert staff who could be prime targets for jihadists. And some importers of Iraqi oil are getting nervous about supplies.
"We are just very vigilant in Iraq. Non-essential production people have left, but operations continue," said Bob Dudley, chief executive at BP, a major investor in Iraq through the giant Rumaila field. He was speaking to reporters in Moscow.
Industry newsletter Iraq Oil Report said Exxon Mobil, which is developing another huge field, West Qurna 1, was also cutting staffing levels. Exxon declined comment.
In a mark of concern abroad, Turkey evacuated its consulate in the southern oil hub of Basra on Tuesday.
Though the departure of foreigners would have only limited near-term impact on output, the risk of wider civil war - not restricted to attacks in the south by Sunnis but also a possible revival of friction among Shi'ite factions - could hit production and certainly hold back plans for expansion.
Russian firms said they were not reducing staff so far but were working on contingency plans.
(Excerpt) Read more at english.alarabiya.net ...
Send in Biden.
Does anyone think these will stand and fight the ISIS army headed south?