Comment by Jim Campbell, Citizen Journalists, Oath Keeper and Patriot.
Competing oil companies are moving Iraqi oil workers out of Iraq in anticipation of future U.S. bombing.
Rival Exxon Mobil also withdrawing workers as battles rage, while Shell may follow suit
iNVEZZ.com, Thursday, June 19: Oil majors BP (LON:BP) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) have both begun evacuating staff from their operations in Iraq, as the battle between Sunni-Muslim Islamists and government forces north of Baghdad intensifies.
BP has taken non-essential employees out of its Rumaila field in the south of Iraq, while Exxon has been pulling expatriate staff out of its West Qurna 1 field in the region. Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) also revealed that it would monitor the situation and evacuate workers if security deteriorated.
“The safety and security of our staff is our top priority. We don’t comment on specific security issues but we are following the situation in Iraq closely,” the Anglo-Dutch company said in a statement today.
The moves come amid concerns that fighters from the militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, known as Isis, could target facilities in the region after fighting broke out at Iraq’s largest refinery, Baiji, overnight on Tuesday.
Iraq’s main oil facilities are concentrated in the south, far from the areas captured by rebels. So far exports and production have not been hit by the fighting, as noted by BP CEO Bob Dudley earlier this week (BP share price: CEO says Iraq operations unaffected by turmoil).
However, the evacuations show how Isis’ rapid military advance and the collapse of the Iraqi army in places like Mosul have started to change the assessment of the situation by western majors active in the south.
Dudley has remarked that the violence was “terrible” and would have “far-reaching, wide-ranging implications” for the region, although it isn’t likely to spread all the way to the country’s southern oil fields.
Some experts warn that if the conflict in Iraq continues to escalate, oil companies could be forced to reconsider their presence in the country.