BAGHDAD/KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi on Monday forces captured the headquarters for the North Oil Company, northwest of Kirkuk, and a nearby refinery from Kurdish forces, without fighting, an Iraqi oil official said.
Iraq forces moved into the premises of Iraqi state-owned North Oil after taking the nearby K1 airbase, the Kirkuk-based official told Reuters. They were also deploying in the nearby Baba Gurgur field and the North Oil refinery.
Oil and natural gas production from the Kirkuk region is proceeding normally despite the ongoing Iraqi military operation to seize the region form Kurdish forces, another Iraqi Oil Ministry official told Reuters in Baghdad.
'‘Kurdish leaders we consider as our brothers have agreed to hand over control of North Oil and North Gas company facilities who belong to the state,‘’ said a military commander involved in the operation. “We have an agreement with some Kurdish leaders that the oil and gas facilities should stay out of the conflict,” the ministry official said.
North Oil contributes a small part of Iraq’s overall crude production, pumped mainly from fields in the south.
Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Alison Williams