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.


Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

Updated 19 February 2020

Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

  • The decision came after a debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a deal 6 years ago
  • The parliament also asked the finance ministry to review recent aircraft deals involving state-owned Kuwait Airways

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's parliament on Wednesday formed a fact-finding panel to probe alleged kickbacks in a deal between the national carrier and Airbus, which last month paid massive fines to settle bribery scandals.
The parliament's decision came after a special debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a 25-aircraft deal six years ago.
It also asked the Audit Bureau, the state accounting watchdog, to investigate the deal, which was reportedly worth billions of dollars, although exact figures were never released.
Kuwait Airway Co. in 2014 ordered 15 Airbus 320neo and 10 Airbus 350, with delivery beginning last year and continuing until 2021.
Opposition lawmaker Riyadh al-Adasani told the session that Kuwait was mentioned in a settlement struck by Airbus in a British court on January 31, along with the names of some Kuwaiti officials and citizens.
Under the settlement, Airbus agreed to pay 3.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in fines to Britain, France and the United States to settle corruption probes into some of its aircraft sales.
Days after the settlement, Sri Lanka ordered an investigation into a multi-billion dollar aircraft purchase from Airbus after the deal was named in the settlement.
The former chief of Sri Lankan Airlines, Kapila Chandrasena, was arrested on February 6 for allegedly receiving bribes relating to the deal.
Earlier this month, two senior officials of the Malaysia-based AirAsia stepped aside while authorities probe unusual payments at the carrier, as the fallout from the Airbus scandal reverberated across the industry.
Kuwait in recent years also initiated criminal investigations into two large military aircraft deals involving Airbus -- a $9 billion Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes deal and a contract for 30 Caracal military helicopters costing $1.2 billion.