Protests heating up near Qurna-2 oil field

Updated 17 April 2013

Protests heating up near Qurna-2 oil field

BASRA: Hundreds of local protesters blocked a main entrance of Iraq’s giant southern West Qurna-2 oilfield, operated by Russia’s LUKOIL, demanding jobs in a sign of the growing challenges facing foreign firms operating in the south.
Local communities and tribes in Iraq, where foreign oil companies are developing the OPEC nation’s vast energy reserves, periodically protest to squeeze companies for jobs and other work benefits.
Around 500 angry protesters gathered at the main entrance, demanding Lukoil supply jobs and compensation for land where it operates. Police said the situation was under control and demonstrators did not try to break into the field.
“We are protesting to get our rights. We have decided to block the entrance until field officials address our demands,” said Mizhir Al-Rwemi, a spokesman for protesters.
An official at the state-run South Oil Company said it was not the first such protest. “We are trying to deal discretely with them,” the official said.
Iraqi oil police officials said security measures were tightened around the oilfield to prevent protesters from getting inside where employees, including from Russia’s Lukoil were working on developments operations.
Hundreds of protesters broke into West Qurna-2 oilfield early last month, smashing offices of an Iraqi company hired by Samsung Engineering before trying to break into the South Korean builder’s headquarters.
More than 1,000 employees from the South Oil Co. also demonstrated to demand higher salaries and permanent contracts with the company, officials and protesters said.
Ten years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s energy installations are still struggle with various challenges, including attacks on oil pipelines and facilities.
Earlier this month, Gunmen attacked a contracting company in Iraq’s Akkas gasfield, killing at least three local workers and kidnapping two more before burning their camp in the remote western desert.


Bailout will keep Air France-KLM afloat for less than year: CEO

Updated 21 September 2020

Bailout will keep Air France-KLM afloat for less than year: CEO

  • ‘If we base it upon the past few weeks, it is clear that the recovery in traffic will be slower than expected’
  • Governments are coming under pressure to tie airline bailouts to environmental commitments

PARIS: Bailouts provided to Air France-KLM by the French and Dutch governments will keep the airline flying less than a year, its CEO Benjamin Smith said Monday and evoked the possibility of injecting new capital.
In an interview with the French daily l’Opinion, Smith also warned that calls for airlines to contribute more to fight climate change could be catastrophic for their survival which is already under threat due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When countries imposed lockdowns earlier this year to stem the spread of the coronavirus airlines faced steep drops in revenue that have claimed several carriers.
A number of countries stepped in with support, including France which provided $8.2 billion to Air France and the Netherlands which received a $2.9 billion package.
“This support will permit us to hold on less than 12 months,” said Smith.
The reason is that air traffic is picking up very slowly as many northern hemisphere countries are now fearing a second wave of infections.
“If we base it upon the past few weeks, it is clear that the recovery in traffic will be slower than expected,” according to Smith, who said when the bailout was put together the airline was expecting a return to 2019 levels only in 2024.
Smith said discussions were already underway with shareholders on shoring up the airline group, and steps would be taken before the next regular annual meeting in the second quarter of next year.
“One, three or five billion euros? It is too early to put a figure on a possible recapitalization,” he said.
The airline group had $12.12 billion in cash or available under credit lines.
Major shareholders include the French government with a 14.3 percent stake, the Dutch government at 14 percent, as well as Delta and China Eastern airlines which each hold an 8 percent stake.
Governments are coming under pressure to tie airline bailouts to environmental commitments.
One proposal that has come from a citizen’s convention convoked by President Emmanuel Macron would cost airlines an estimated $3.6 billion.
Smith said the imposition of environmental charges on the industry would be “irresponsible and catastrophic” for Air France-KLM.