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Iraq conflict threatens vital growth of oil sector, say analysts

Published on Jun 22, 2014 1:04 PM
 
Members of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces take their positions during a patrol looking for militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), explosives and weapons in a neighbourhood in Ramadi, on June 11, 2014. Escalating violence in Iraq is threatening the development of some of the world's largest oil reserves at a time when OPEC's number-two producer was expected to be a key future supplier. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Escalating violence in Iraq is threatening the development of some of the world's largest oil reserves at a time when OPEC's number-two producer was expected to be a key future supplier.

Western majors including BP, ExxonMobil and Shell, along with state-backed Chinese giants CNOOC and CNPC, have ploughed billions of dollars into the country's oil fields since 2008.

But now a lightning offensive led by jihadists from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) means the anticipated modernisation of Iraq's major southern oil fields is looking slimmer by the day.

"There's no question that outside of North America, Iraq is the country that matters the most for future production," Mr Antoine Halff, the head of the IEA's oil markets and industry division, told AFP.

 
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