Turkmens call for recapture of oilfields in Kirkuk ‘by force’

File – Members of Iraqi federal forces gather near oil fields in Kirkuk (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Turkmen bloc in the Iraqi Council of Representatives on Saturday called on the federal government to recapture oilfields “by force” which are under the control of the Kurdistan Region in Kirkuk province.

Earlier on Saturday, a source at Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company said a Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) force had taken control of two oil wells in Bai Hassan oilfield in northern Kirkuk.

The source, who spoke under condition of anonymity, accused Kar Group of planning to begin productions at the wells.

In a statement, Turkmens bloc in the Iraqi parliament condemned the “capture of oilfields in Kirkuk by the Kurdistan Region”.

It also called on the federal government to “take control of the oilfields in Kirkuk by force and law”.

In a separate statement, the North Oil Company said the KRG 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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