Sep 13 2013
By Shaymaa Adel
Azzaman, September 13, 2013
Fears of attacks and reprisals have prompted the government to tighten security at the country’s oil installations and oil fields, the Oil Ministry said.
The ministry’s spokesperson Isam Jihad said the government has decided to provide additional security measures to prevent any disruption in output and exports.
The measures come amid growing concerns over security in Iraq and fears of armed militias attacking oil fields and personnel.
The ministry does not have its own security corps. Responsibility for guarding the oil industry is shouldered by the ministries of interior and defense.
The Ministry of Interior has also raised a special forces, mainly of tribesmen to guard oil installations in their areas against attacks.
Jihad said the ministry was taking reports of reprisals against U.S. and western nationals in the country in response to the events in Syria seriously.
He said the ministry was in touch with the security forces to see to it that its installations, fields and personnel get full protection.
There are hundreds of U.S. and other foreign nationals involved in the country’s oil industry, mainly in the rehabilitation and development of oil fields.
Jihad said the country’s oil wealth “is part of every Iraqis individual wealth” and that everyone should do what it takes so that production and exports are not interrupted despite the rise in violence.
He gave no details on the specific measures Iraq has taken to keep the flow of its exports. However, Jihdad said most of the country’s oil output and exports originate in southern Iraq far away from the Syrian borders.
“We do not think the oil industry in Basra will be affected in the event of hostilities between the U.S. and Syria,” he said.
However, he added, there were fears of attacks from “various groups” targeting foreign nationals to avenge for any attack on Syria by the U.S.
The ministry has issued instructions to all those working in the oil industry, both national and foreign personnel, to take extra measures, advising to restrict their movement, Jihad added.
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