Iraqi Oil Ministry to rehabilitate oil fields in the north of the country just a few short months after declaring victory in the restive city of Mosul. File photo by Omar al-Hayali/EPA
Oct. 4 (UPI) -- New oil could come out of a northern province in Iraq as crews work to overhaul oil wells torched by the Islamic State, the oil ministry in Baghdad said.
Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi gave the order to rehabilitate the oil fields in northern Ninevah province with the goal of starting oil production in "the next few months." According to his spokesman, he gave the order to the North Oil Co. of Iraq to repair oil fields and facilities in the region damaged by the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State.
"Luaibi said that he gave an order to the NOC and Ninevah field division to put an urgent plan to rehabilitate and increase the production from the fields of Ninevah to more than 30,000 barrels per day during the next few months to cover the local needs of the refineries, power stations and the liberated cities," the Iraqi oil ministry stated.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in late August that Nineveh province and its capital, Mosul, were liberated from the Islamic State, known variably by its acronyms ISIL, ISIS, or also as Daesh.
Iraq launched its military offensive to retake Mosul -- Iraq's second-largest city - earlier in the summer. The offensive was led by Iraqi security forces and aided by the Kurdish Peshmerga, a Shiite-led militia, and the U.S.-led international coalition.
Iraq declared victory in Mosul in July.
The oil ministry gave no indication that oil from Ninevah province would be sent to the foreign market. Parts of the region are considered disputed territories with the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.
The Kurdish region held a referendum for independence in late September. The move was contentious as Turkey, which is battling an insurgency from Kurdish militant groups, said it could close the border and stop the half million barrels of oil flowing from the Kurdish north every day.
So far, there are no indications oil operations in Kurdish territory have been impacted since the referendum.
Iraq is one of the largest producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and party to a multilateral effort to balance an oversupplied global market for crude oil with managed production declines.