Rudaw reports that Russia’s Gazprom Neft has been forced to halt operations at its Halabja block following demonstrations by hundreds of protestors from 34 villages around the town of Darbandikhan.
According to the report, the protesters have given the oil company until 20th October to stop all exploration activity, claiming that “scientific evidence shows work conducted by this company is lethal and damages the environment, air, water wells and springs – and such changes are irreversible.”
They also demand that all oil companies leave the region and that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) drop its drive for independent oil exports, insisting that it should focus instead on tourism and agriculture.
Gazprom Neft is involved in three projects in the Region – Shakal, Garmian and Halabja – and estimated geological reserves for all three are more than 1.3 billion tonnes of oil. In the Halabja block, the company is conducting geological surveys.
Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Incorporated has warned the markets that it will take a hit of $80 million as a result of the disruption to its operations in Basra.
The company said in a statement:
“Following the disruption to its business in Iraq during the fourth quarter, Baker Hughes resumed operations by the end of December. Due to the lost revenue related to this event, expenses associated with personnel movements and security measures, and other nonrecurring items, the pretax and after-tax profit impact from the disruption in Iraq during the fourth quarter is approximately $80 million, or $0.18 per share.“
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.
From Jewish News One. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Thousands have gathered in the Iraqi capital Baghdad to join the powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in protest against sectarianism and to demand the resignation of the country’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki:
A Middle East expert says similar to the situation in Syria, there are a number of countries that are fueling the tension in Iraq which is very dangerous for the country.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has warned anti-government protesters that security forces could intervene to end illegal demonstrations across the country.
Iraq has been rocked by protests over the past weeks, with protesters in the western Anbar Province continuing to block off a highway linking Iraq to Syria and Jordan for the second week.
Maliki accused the protesters who blocked off the major trade route of trying to abuse their freedoms and cause chaos in the country. Maliki also stated that a committee had been formed in order to consider some of the protesters’ demands.
Iraq has been the scene of anti-government demonstrations since December 23, 2012, when bodyguards of Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi were arrested on terrorism-related charges.
In an interview with Iran’s PressTV, Jafar Hadi Hassan, a Middle East expert in London, shares his thoughts regarding the issue: