An IS fighter stands guard at a checkpoint near the Baiji refinery. Photo: AP
By Muhammad Hadi
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Islamic State (IS/ISIS) jihadists are now in control of seven oil fields and two refineries in northern Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, finding a sustainable source of revenue for their “holy war” in the newly-captured lands.
They are estimated to be selling 10,000 barrels per day (bpd), including earnings from the Kurdish Ayn Zala oil well in the Zumar area.
In addition to wells and refineries the militants are in charge of roughly 260 kilometers of an oil pipeline connecting fields in Kirkuk to the Ceyhan port in Turkey, according to Bewar Khinsi at the Kurdistan Protection Agency.
“The militants simply sell the existing oil in the pipelines at much lower prices,” Khinsi told Rudaw.
“They sell (the equivalent of) roughly 40 tankers, or 10,000 barrels of oil, with net revenues of $12,000,” Khinsi said. “The customers are usually local Kurds and Arabs,” he added.
“ISIS wants to broaden its attacks,” Khinsi warned. “And oil is a good source of income for their war machine. They use it also as fuel to run their military vehicles.”
IS conquests include the Gayara oil fields, which reportedly can produce over 20,000 barrels a day and where total reserves are estimated at 2 billion barrels of oil. They also control refineries in Gayara.
According to Khinsi’s estimate, Ayn Zala has between 70 and 80 oil wells, with a total reserve of 4 billion barrels of oil.
In Salahaddin province, the militants control the Hajelan oil fields, with the capacity of producing 5,000 barrels bpd and total reserves of 1 billion barrels.
Khinsi also warned that the militants have considered destroying the Mosul Dam, which would unleash a flood over vast areas.