Iraq announced the dismantling of the largest oil smuggling network in Basra Governorate, while an Iraqi security agency revealed that the network includes high-ranking officers and senior staff.
Prime Minister, Mohammed Shiyaa Al-Sudani, said yesterday in a tweet that "Iraqi security forces managed, in cooperation with other agencies, to dismantle a large network for smuggling oil derivatives in the southern governorate of Basra."
He vowed to "track down oil smuggling networks and implement arrest warrants against gangs that dared to steal the rights of Iraqis."
"We will spare no effort and will work day and night to fight corruption in its various forms," Al-Sudani stressed.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi National Security Agency revealed that the arrested Iraqi oil smuggling network was stealing and smuggling oil and its derivatives, by making holes in the crude oil export lines in the Zubair oil field.
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The agency said in a press statement that "the National Security Agency thwarted one of the largest crude oil smuggling and theft operations carried out by a network led by a merchant, and which included high-ranking officers and senior officials who were arrested in accordance with judicial warrants."
"This network engages in theft and smuggling operations by making holes in the crude oil export lines located in the Zubair oil field, after which it is connected to another pipe with these holes to the smuggling route."
According to local reports, the network includes nine senior officers from the Energy Police Forces, who are in charge of protecting oil facilities, production fields, refineries and export lines and transporting crude oil, headed by the Energy Police Commander Major General Ghanem Muhammad Al-Husseini.
Between 40-50 tanks of oil were thought to have been smuggled, amounting to 75 million litres per month.
The Zubair oil field is one of the largest oil fields in the Basra Governorate, and the Italian company Eni has been investing in this field since 2010.