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Iraq’s government forces completed on Tuesday an operation to seize control of all oil fields that Iraqi state-held North Oil Company operates in the oil-rich Kirkuk region from Kurdish forces, a senior military official told Reuters.
The Iraqi forces took control of the Baba Gurgur, Jambur and Khabbaz fields on Monday, and proceeded with the operation taking control of the Bai Hassan and Avana oil fields on Tuesday, according to the military officer.
The Kurdish forces, the Peshmerga, had previously held the oil fields around Kirkuk, but pulled out as the Iraqi forces advanced to the oil-rich region. The advance of the central Iraqi government forces in Dibis, home to the Bai Hassan and Avana oil fields, is part of an operation that Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered to take control of Kurdish-held areas outside the autonomous Kurdistan region.
“The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Dr. Haider Al-Abadi directs the armed forces to protect all citizens in Kirkuk,” according to a Sunday tweet by the prime minister’s media office. “Dr. Al-Abadi directs the armed forces to impose security in Kirkuk in cooperation with residents of Kirkuk and the Peshmerga forces,” the office further said.
All fields were operating normally as of Tuesday, Reuters reports, quoting oil officials in Baghdad.
On Monday, oil prices jumped as reports emerged that oil supplies from the region may have been disrupted, although perhaps only temporarily. Yesterday, Reuters reported that around 350,000 bpd of oil production from the Bai Hassan and Avana oil fields were briefly shut down due to security concerns.
Following the overwhelming support for Kurdish independence in the referendum, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is seeking dialog to resolve all issues and has not declared independence in any part of Kurdistan. Iraq, for its part, says that the referendum is unconstitutional, and urges Iran and Turkey and the world to stop all commercial transactions with Kurdistan, especially in oil exports and sales.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.