Oil Ministry Denounces Police Raid in CNPC Oilfield

Further to our report yesterday on the police raid on CNPC's al-ahdab oilfield, Iraq's Oil Ministry said on Tuesday that security forces had violated the law, and expressed concern for the affect it could have on foreign investment in the oil sector.

"Oil sites and facilities are under the control of the Central Government and the interference of any body or the provincial councils is a violation of the law," the state-run daily al-Sabah quoted the ministry as saying.

Emergency forces in the eastern province of Wasit raided the facilities on Monday on the orders of some members of the provincial council. The council members claimed there was 'manipulation in the documents' of the al-Ahdab oil field and demanded to 'review the conduct of business and production process'.

Two years ago, the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) and its Chinese partner, Zhenhua Oil, signed a 23-year service agreement to work in the al-Ahdab oil field, which has estimated reserves of 1 billion barrels.

CNPC contracts in Iraq have been in existence since the Saddam Hussein era, but the agreement to work in al-Ahdab was renewed after the US-led invasion of 2003.

(Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur)

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