Iraqi forces captured several positions south of Kirkuk from Kurdish fighters on Monday (October 16) in their bid to regain control of the oil-rich city, which is part of a region that declared itself independent at a referendum last month.
Iraq forces moved into the premises of Iraqi state-owned North Oil after taking the nearby K1 air base, the Kirkuk-based official told Reuters. They were also deploying in the nearby Baba Gurgur field and the North Oil refinery.
Oil and natural gas production from the Kirkuk region is proceeding normally despite the ongoing Iraqi military operation to seize the region form Kurdish forces, another Iraqi Oil Ministry official told Reuters in Baghdad.
The conflict heightened worries over oil exports. Kirkuk accounts for 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the some 600,000 bpd of oil produced in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) region. Turkey has threatened to shut a KRG-operated pipeline that goes to the Turkish port of Ceyhan at Baghdad’s request.