Iraq agrees with U.S. oil giant to return foreign staff to Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-01 03:45:27|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BAGHDAD, May 31 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi government agreed with the U.S. Exxon Mobil oil company to return its foreign staff to Iraq's southern West Qurna 1 oilfield, an Iraqi oil official said on Friday.

A statement by Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, director general of Basra Oil Company, said that "after a meeting between the Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir al-Ghadhban and the administration of Exxon Mobil company, the company will start the return of its staff to their offices in Basra on next Sunday."

The agreement between the two sides came after the U.S. Exxon Mobil oil company on May 17 evacuated all its foreign workers out of West Qurna 1 oilfield in Iraq's southern province of Basra.

The company's staff were moved to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and some to the company's main headquarters in Basra.

Later, al-Ghadhban said the Exxon Mobil's evacuation "is unacceptable and unjustified because other international companies are working freely and safely in developing the oilfields."

However, the oil production of West Qurna 1 oilfield was not affected by the evacuation as the work was continued by the Iraqi engineers, according to media reports.

The evacuation came amid the tense situation in the region after U.S. President Donald Trump decided not to re-issue the sanctions waivers for major importers to continue buying Iran's oil when they expired in early May.

The United States has also increased its military activities in the region recently, citing a threat of Iranian "attack."