Exxon’s foreign staff to return to Iraqi oilfield with extra security

Iraqi soldiers keep guard at the entrance of the West Qurna-1 oilfield operated by Exxon Mobil near Basra, Iraq, May 20, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 31 May 2019

Exxon’s foreign staff to return to Iraqi oilfield with extra security

  • Exxon asked for extra security from the police and army at work sites and residences and Iraq agreed, the officials said
  • The company is the lead contractor in a long-term deal with Iraq’s South Oil Company to develop and rehabilitate the oil field and increase production

BASRA: Exxon Mobil employees will start returning to Iraq’s West Qurna 1 oilfield on Sunday after the government agreed to provide extra security, two senior Iraqi oil officials told Reuters on Friday.
Senior company management and essential engineers would be among the first employees to return, the Iraqi officials said, two weeks after Exxon pulled its 60 or so foreign staff from the oilfield and flew them to Dubai.
The evacuation came just days after the United States withdrew non-essential staff from its embassy in Baghdad, citing a threat from neighboring Iran.
Exxon asked for extra security from the police and army at work sites and residences and Iraq agreed, the officials said. The company has received letters of assurance from the Iraqi oil ministry and Basra Oil Company.
Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban at the time called the evacuation “unacceptable and unjustified,” saying it was a political move, rather than borne out of genuine security concerns. He said he had sent a letter to Exxon Mobil after the staff left asking for the company to immediately return to work at the southern oilfield.
Exxon Mobil is the lead contractor in a long-term deal with Iraq’s South Oil Company to develop and rehabilitate the oil field and increase production.
Production was not affected by the evacuation and work continued normally, overseen by Iraqi engineers, Iraqi officials said at the time. Production remained at 440,000 barrels per day (bpd) and Iraqi officials later said they would increase it to 490,000 bpd shortly.


Egypt court hands out 6 death sentences on terror charges

Updated 19 August 2019

Egypt court hands out 6 death sentences on terror charges

  • Giza criminal court on Monday also sentenced 41 defendants, including 28 in absentia, to life in prison
  • The charges stem from two different attacks in 2013 and 2015 in the town of Kerdasa

CAIRO: An Egyptian court has sentenced six people to death on terror charges for carrying out attacks that killed at least three people, including a policeman, on the outskirts of the capital.
Giza criminal court on Monday also sentenced 41 defendants, including 28 in absentia, to life in prison on similar charges, including possession of weapons and explosives. Another seven defendants received 15 years, and one got three years. The court acquitted 14 others.
The verdict can be appealed.
The charges stem from two different attacks in 2013 and 2015 in the town of Kerdasa, located near the famed Giza Pyramids.
Kerdasa had been a hotbed of Islamist support for ex-President Muhammad Mursi, who was ousted by the military in June 2013 after massive protests against his rule.