Military reinforcements will be sent to protect Khor Mor gas field: KRG PM

Military reinforcements will be sent to protect Khor Mor gas field: KRG PM
4 min read
27 June, 2022
The Kurdish authorities send military reinforcements to protect the Khor Mor gas field, following multiple rocket attacks.   
Kurdish security forces man a checkpoint with a military vehicle they captured whilst fighting Isis an abandoned Iraqi army military position near the North Gas gas field near Kirkuk in northern Iraq on 12 June 2014. [Getty]

Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masrour Barzani said on Sunday that military reinforcements are being sent into the Kurdistan region's Khor Mor gas field after it was hit by several rockets last week. 

The Khor Mor gas field, located in the Qadr Karam sub-district of Sulaimaniyah province, borders a vast disputed area between the Iraqi federal government and the KRG. The field is run by the UAE's Dana Gas and is one of the most crucial infrastructures in the region, producing 452 million standard cubic feet of gas per day for locally generated electricity.

"I have also directed both Ministers of Peshmerga Affairs and Interior to take all measures necessary to protect critical public infrastructure and oil and gas installations. As part of the plan, we have agreed to reinforce the area with additional forces. More measures will be reviewed in the coming days," Barzani said in the statement

He also noted that he had a call with the Iraqi PM, and White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk.

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"During my call with Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi, I emphasized the need for joint Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces to fill any remaining vacuum in the disputed territories used by lawless groups to recklessly destabilize the whole of the country," the statement said. "The attacks threaten the country's electricity provision and the investment climate for all the country, and I have urged him to take public, practical measures to rein in the groups…We cannot give in to fear. Over the next few days, I will urge our international friends and partners, and the UN Security Council to renew efforts with Erbil and Baghdad and explore ways for us both to protect against more terror attacks."

While no one has claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks, Barzani has implicitly blamed pro-Iran Shiite militia groups of being behind the attacks. The groups have already denied responsibility. 

"The cowards behind the attacks have resorted to terror tactics because they have lost the court of public opinion in the rest of the country. Rather than focus on the future, and economic integration to lift all of the country, lawless groups have resorted to rocket attacks on our villages and civilians," the Kurdish premier had said in his statement. 

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On its part, Dana Gas said in a statement on Monday that the attacks have not led to any casualties or damages and the company is "closely coordinating with the KRG who along with the Iraqi government has shown strong support".

"Dana Gas (PJSC) informs the market that following the incident on the 22nd of June two further small rockets landed within the Khor Mor Block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on Friday and Saturday, respectively," read the company's press release. "There were no injuries or damage. Production operations continue as normal, however, the work on the KM 250 expansion project has been temporarily suspended while security enhancements are carried out."

The company affirmed that the KRG has taken "all necessary measures to enhance security measures in Khor Mor including the mobilisation of further armed forces to protect the facilities."

A well-informed source within the Khor Mor gas field, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The New Arab that "Dana Gas had temporarily halted some works, it is expected they would resume them within the next few days. The situation is not as fearful as it is being portrayed in the local Kurdish media and on social media platforms.” 

Ned Price, US state department spokesperson in a statement on Sunday condemned the attacks.

"The United States stands with our partners in condemnation of the repeated rocket and mortar attacks directed at the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, including three attacks in Sulaimaniya in the last four days on oil and gas infrastructure. These attacks are designed to undermine economic stability just as they seek to challenge Iraqi sovereignty, sow division, and intimidate," Price said. "They must be investigated and those responsible must be prosecuted. We continue to stand with the Iraqi people, including our partners in the Kurdistan Region, against this kind of unacceptable violence, and we will continue to seek every opportunity to support Iraq's security and prosperity."

Iraq still depends on importing Iranian gas for producing most of its electricity. The Iraqi Kurdistan region sells some of the electricity that is being produced via the Khor Mor gas field to the other parts of Iraq, thus attacking the field is viewed as serving Iranian energy interests.