Working at an oil field in the town of Qayyarah, some 70 km south of Mosul in November 2016. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s North Oil Company (NOC) denied on Sunday that Shiite militia groups were smuggling oil from Nineveh to Syria and Iran, saying that the company strictly manages the province’s oilfields.
“The North Oil Company denies what has circulated in the media and in statements and allegations by some members of the House of Representatives on the smuggling of oil from the fields of Nineveh province.” NOC said in a statement.
A number of Iraqi parliamentarians, among them Ahmed al-Jabouri, an MP from Mosul have accused certain groups within the Hashd al-Shaabi of smuggling oil from Qayyarah, home to dozens of oil wells, to local markets and to Iran and Syria.
The North Oil Company said in its statement that it “manages the Nineveh oilfields and all its stations in accordance with administrative and technical standards, and they are closely monitored by the control and auditing authorities, and are protected by the Iraqi Energy Police and the Iraqi Army.”
As a state-owned entity, NOC operates in other areas in the north of the country, including Kirkuk.
According to the company, an estimated 33,500 barrels of oil is produced in the Nineveh fields, 30,000 of it from Qayyarah.
Most of the Nineveh oil is exported through Basra, said NOC, and only about 5,000 barrels of Qayyarah oil goes to the city’s refinery a day for local use.
The Iraqi government recently announced plans to increase the country's production capacity to 6.5 million bpd by 2022.