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Iraqi security prevents protesters from storming oilfield

Iraqi security forces deploy military equipment after taking control of Altun Kopru village of Kirkuk, Iraq on 20 October 2017 [Ali Mukarrem Garip/Anadolu Agency]

Iraqi security forces yesterday prevented dozens of demonstrators from storming the major oilfield of West Qurna 2 in the country’s southern province of Basra.

“Dozens of unemployed demonstrators attempted to storm the outer fence of the field [West Qurna 2] north of Basra,” Army Lieutenant Mohamed Khalaf told Anadolu Agency.

Khalaf explained that the security forces in charge of protecting the oilfield “fired warning shots in the air to prevent the demonstrators from storming the facility.”

“Security forces are authorised to deal firmly against any attempts to damage the oil installations,” he stressed.

Read: Turkey to open visa office in Iraq’s Kirkuk city

West Qurna 2 – managed by Russia’s Lukoil – produces 400,000 barrels of oil per day. Lukoil is yet to provide details on the impact the incident on the field’s production.

Iraq, second-largest oil producer of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), produces 4.6 million barrels of oil per day.

Basra has been witnessing continuous protests across the province since 9 July. Protestors demand better public services, jobs and corruption elimination.

Demonstrators centralise their sit-ins near oilfields and petroleum facilities in order to pressure officials to find them jobs there. Iraq’s oil industry is predominantly dependant on foreign workers.

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