Protests at West Qurna-2

By John Lee.

Hundreds of locals blocked a main entrance of Iraq’s giant southern West Qurna-2 oilfield on Tuesday.

According to Iraq Oil Report, local residents have long complained that oil development has caused them to lose agricultural land for which they have not been adequately compensated, while many expected to receive jobs at oil projects, but have not.

Reuters reports that around 500 angry protesters gathered at the main entrance, demanding that LUKoil supply jobs and compensation for land where it operates. Police said the situation was under control and demonstrators did not try to break into the field.

We are protesting to get our rights. We have decided to block the entrance until field officials address our demands,” said Mizhir al-Rwemi, a spokesman for protesters.

An official at the state-run South Oil Company said it was not the first such protest. “We are trying to deal discretely with them,” the official said.

Hundreds of protesters broke into West Qurna-2 oilfield early last month, smashing offices of an Iraqi company hired by Samsung Engineering before trying to break into the South Korean builder’s headquarters.

(Sources: Reuters, Iraq Oil Report)

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