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Iraq Says Oil And Gas Output Isn’t Affected by Exxon Evacuation

The evacuation of some Exxon Mobil Corp. workers from southern Iraq hasn’t affected output there or at other oil and gas fields, according the country’s energy minister.

Iraq’s Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban said in an interview that Exxon pulled about 80 people from the country, and oil and gas output continues unabated. “No single personnel from other foreign companies withdrew,” he said.

Exxon’s decision to pull staff is “precautionary and temporary,” said Abdul Jabbar Abbas Mohammed, who heads the operations committee of West Qurna-1 field which is operated in partnership with the U.S. company. The field is producing between 450,000 to 480,000 barrels a day and is operated by the Iraqi engineers, he said.

The U.S. ordered its non-emergency government staff to leave Iraq this week amid increasing Middle East tensions that American officials are blaming on Iran. Attacks on energy facilities, including a Saudi Arabian pipeline and several vessels including Saudi oil tankers, as well as a U.S. military buildup, are raising fears that the region may be heading toward another conflict.

“For us, there is no reason calling them to withdraw,” Ghadhban said, referring to Exxon. Lukoil PJSC, BP Plc and Italy’s Eni SpA work in nearby fields including West Qurna-2, Rumaila and Zubair. “The region, south of Iraq, is all secured and peaceful. Work is going on without any halt.”

Basrah Gas Co., which operates a major gas field in southern Iraq in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, also hasn’t made staff changes due to the regional tensions. “So far there is no intention for Shell to withdraw,” Shaalan Al-Darraji, spokesman for state-run Basrah Gas, said in an interview.
Source: Bloomberg

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