TAQA suspends operations in Kurdish north of Iraq

Production from Kurdish north set for next year.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Updated Aug. 11, 2014 at 8:40 AM
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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Production from the Atrush block in the Kurdish north of Iraq should start in 2015 but operations are on hold because of the violence, energy company TAQA said.

U.S. President Barack Obama ordered limited airstrikes against Sunni-led insurgents in the mountainous north of Iraq last week. In an address Saturday, the president said the strikes "successfully destroyed arms and equipment" held by the militants.

The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government last week said oil operations in the north deserved close monitoring, though were largely unaffected by the violence.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., known by its Arabic initials TAQA, said it suspended operations at the region's Atrush block as a security precaution.

"TAQA has suspended its operations at the Atrush block as a result of recent developments and escalating instability around the Kurdistan Region of Iraq," it announced: Sunday.

Several other energy companies operating in the area have pulled non-essential staff out of the country as a security precaution.

TAQA has invested more than $300 million in a program to drill three production wells and build a central processing facility for the reserve area.

Discovered in 2011, TAQA said the block should start producing around 30,000 barrels of oil per day by next year.

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