Iraq mobilising force to protect oil assets

09 June 2015

Oil minister says 27,000-strong army will secure all oil and electricity facilities

The Iraqi government is forming a 27,000-strong security to protect the country’s oil and energy assets from the threat of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis).

Oil Minister Adel Abdel Al-Mahdi said at the Opec meeting in Vienna that the new force would be drawn from an existing energy police force controlled by the Interior Ministry, the UK’s Telegraph newspaper reported.

The force will receive extra training and equipment, the minister added.

Since Isis’ expansion into northern Iraq in June 2014 it has posed a significant threat to Iraq’s energy infrastructure.

Isis and Iraqi security forces have been engaged in a long battle over the control of the country’s largest refinery at Baiji, north of Baghdad.

Iraq’s major southern oil fields and export infrastructure have been largely unaffected by the violence. Most of the country’s oil assets are located in Shia-majority areas where Isis has relatively less support than the areas the Islamist militants control in the north and west of the country.

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