KRG force seizes two oil wells in Kirkuk: source

An Iraqi oil employee turns a valve as he checks pipelines at the Bai Hassan oil field, west of the multi-ethnic northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, on October 19, 2017. – Kurdish peshmerga forces withdrew without a fight after federal government troops and militia entered Kirkuk, seizing the provincial governor’s office and key military bases in response to a Kurdish vote for independence in September 2017. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — A force from the Kurdistan Region has taken control of two oil wells in Kirkuk, a source at Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company told Esta Media Network on Saturday.

The source, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said a Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) force had seized two oil wells in Bai Hassan oilfield in northern Kirkuk.

“Kar Company wants to begin production at the two oil wells,” the source added.

Kar Group is owned by Baz Karim Barzanji whose home was hit by Iranian ballistic missiles in March.

The KRG force was deployed to the area to protect Liheban villagers from Islamic State (ISIS) militants following a decision by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, according to the source. 

“But the force was moved and the Kar company wants to start production at the two oil wells in the Bai Hassan oilfield”.

Separately, the North Oil Company said the force arrived with a technical team from the Kurdistan Region and took over some of the oil wells in the Bai Hassan oilfield, which is controlled by state-run company.

Iraqi forces took back control of Kirkuk oilfields from the Kurds in 2017 following a referendum on Kurdish independence.

Baghdad responded to the plebiscite, in which Kurds overwhelmingly voted for independence, by dislodging Peshmerga forces from territories claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurds, including the oil city of Kirkuk.

Kirkuk’s oilfields had been under Kurdish control since 2014, when the Iraqi army collapsed in the face of Islamic State. The Kurdish move prevented the militants from seizing the region’s oilfields.

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