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ISIS poses threat to billions of barrels of Iraqi oil

Oilfield Technology,

The expanding presence of the Al-Qaida-derived group The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Iraq has put billions of barrels of Iraq’s oil under immediate threat, according to GlobalData.

Robert Stevens, GlobalData’s Lead Upstream Analyst covering the Middle East and North Africa, believes that substantial supplies of oil in the north of Iraq are at risk, with several oil fields facing prolonged abandonment.

Stevens explained: “The Najma and Qayara oil fields in Nineveh each have approximately 700 million barrels of proven reserves that could be lost due to ISIS activities. In Salah-e-Din, production from the Ajeel oil field, which produces 28,000 bpd, and the development of the Hamrin oil field, with the equivalent of 500 million barrels of recoverable oil, could be gravely compromised. The same situation could occur in Diyala, where Naft Khana and other fields bordering Iran would be in danger.”

Stevens also warned that if the Kurdistan Regional Government achieves the formal annexation of Kirkuk from Iraq, the 500,000 bpd production of the major oil fields of Kirkuk, Bai Hassan, Jambur and Khabbaz would be lost by the Iraq central government.

Despite this, Iraq’s oil exports, which currently stand at 2.6–2.7 million bpd, are relatively safe, with over 95% coming from the Basra region. However, if the military crisis continues to escalate and ISIS reaches Baghdad, the situation is set to become much worse.

Stevens added: “Heavy fighting would debilitate further oil facilities, such as Baghdad’s Daura refinery and the eight-billion-barrel East Baghdad heavy oil field. It could also potentially lead to attacks on southern oil facilities, the closest being Badra, Dhafriya and Ahdab in Wasit Province, which was attacked in April 2014.

“In total, up to 690,000 bpd of North Oil Company’s crude oil production capacity is under immediate threat, with at least a further 250,000 bpd of planned capacity. This is not to mention the potential loss of control of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline through Turkey to the international markets, exacerbating the export bottleneck.”

Comments provided by Robert Stevens, GlobalData’s Lead Upstream Analyst covering the Middle East and North Africa.

Edited by Katie Woodward

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