ERBIL, Iraq, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Oil production in the Kurdish region of Iraq remains unaffected by violence and exports are expected to rise, the Kurdish government said Saturday.
U.S. military forces responded with limited airstrikes against insurgents from the Sunni-led Islamic State. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the military targeted insurgent artillery after it was used to attack Kurdish Peshmerga forces defending the Kurdish capital, Erbil.
A number of oil companies operating in the area, from Genel Energy to U.S. major Chevron, have pulled non-essential staff out of the area as a security precaution. So far, few companies have experienced significant declines in oil production as a result of the violence.
"Oil production in the region remains unaffected and is being delivered to both the domestic and export markets," the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government said in a statement Saturday. "Indeed, the KRG is expecting that the producing companies will ramp up production in the coming weeks as ongoing export infrastructure improvements come online as planned."
The Kurdish government put its oil on the international market in significant quantities starting in May. A vessel, the United Kalavrvta, is parked off the southern U.S. coast loaded with more than 1 million barrels of Kurdish oil.
That shipment sparked competing claims in the U.S. court system from the KRG and the federal government in Baghdad over who controls oil sales from Iraq.