ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz called for patience after a state-run energy company suspended drilling operations in Iraq as a security precaution.
Eight workers from the state-run Turkish Petroleum Corp., known by its Turkish initials TPAO, were evacuated from Iraq in June, and the company said it's now decided to suspend operations because of safety concerns.
Yildiz said Turkey's southern neighbor was an important partner in energy security.
"We need patience," he said Thursday. "Iraq is an important market for Turkey and the TPAO should resume work once the tension eases."
The Islamic State, a Sunni-led terrorist group known also as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has taken control of territory in parts of Iraq and Syria. Several energy companies have pulled non-essential staff out of northern Iraq in the face of increased violence in the region.
The semiautonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq has sent oil produced from its territory to the Turkish sea port of Ceyhan for exports.
Norwegian energy company DNO said this week it was fully committed to standing its ground in the Kurdish north despite the security fears.
During the first quarter, DNO said it sent on average 126,048 barrels of oil per day to and sold 114,760 bpd from Ceyhan.