Iraq’s insurgents are targeting the country’s oil industry, according to a report by Joel Wing for AKnews. In June there were five attacks on oil-related infrastructure and personnel:
- June 5: Zubair oil field in Basra was attacked. Reports differ as to whether it was hit by bombs or rockets, but its oil storage facility was hit, setting its petroleum reserves on fire. The day before, Deputy Premier Hussein Shahristani who is in charge of the country’s energy policy had visited Zubair.
- June 15: Four bombs were found at the Daura [Duora, Dora] refinery in Baghdad. Officials said that it was an inside job, and several guards were arrested.
- June 22: A convoy carrying a delegation from the Iranian Oil Ministry through eastern Baghdad was shot at and two guards were wounded. The cars belonged to the Oil Ministry, and it was unclear whether the assault was aimed at the Iranians or the government vehicles.
- June 24: Baiji [Bayji, Beiji] refinery (pictured) in Salahaddin was bombed. First reports simply said an explosion occurred at the facility, which caused a fire that took four hours to put out. It was then revealed that the cause was a bomb that went off near a gas pipeline around 2:30 am, but which did not cause any major damage.
- June 27: a rocket was fired at the Shuaiba oil refinery in Basra, and the police found two other rockets before they went off.
These were the first attacks on Iraq’s petroleum sector since March, which points to a new campaign to undermine the nation’s most important resource.
The last time oil facilities were targeted was in March, when the northern Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline was bombed, closing it for five days for repairs. The fact that the Zubair field was hit and the Shuaiba refinery was targeted was also something new, as the southern fields, which hold the vast majority of Iraq’s reserves, have not been threatened for years.
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