Total reduces staff in Iraqi Kurdistan

Evacuations: Total pulls staff from Kurdistan

France's Total has reduced the number of staff at its operations in Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan because of the deteriorating security situation, reports said.

The Paris-headquartered oil major said that its operations were not affected by the decision.

“We are continuously monitoring the security situation in Kurdistan and we have adjusted the staff numbers,” a spokeswoman for Total told Reuters.

“Work on our operated assets continues as scheduled,” she said.

Last year, Total acquired an 80% operatorship stake in the KRG’s Baranan exploration block, southeast of Sulaymaniy.

A seismic survey was completed earlier this year and the group was expected to drill its first exploration well at the end of this year.

The French major also operates the Safen block, northeast of the regional capital Erbil. It also has minority stakes in the Harir and Taza blocks, where two oil discoveries were made in 2013. 

A dramatic push by the terrorist militancy known as the Islamic State through northern Iraq to the border with the semi-autonomous Kurdish region alarmed Baghdad and drew the first US air strikes on Iraq since the withdrawal of US troops in 2011.

Over the past two weeks, ExxonMobil and Chevron made similar moves to reduce staff in the region as did US independent Hess Corporation, the UK's Genel Energy and Afren, Ireland's Petroceltic International, Abu Dhabi's Taqa and Canada's Oryx Petroleum.

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