BAGHDAD – The government of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region said Friday that it took control of several oilfields in the northern province of Iraq.
“Members of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Kirkuk Oil Protection Forces moved to secure the oilfields of Bai Hassan and the Makhmour area,” the Kurdish administration said in a statement.
The Kurds said they acted after learning that the federal oil ministry in Baghdad planned to have employees sabotage a new pipeline being built to link the three largest oilfields in the vicinity of Kirkuk.
Two of those fields are operated by Iraqi federal government’s North Oil Company.
Earlier Friday, the national Oil Ministry accused the KRG’s peshmerga security forces of having seized control of the Bai Hassan and Makhmour fields.
“(T)his irresponsible behavior ... violates the constitution and the national wealth, and disregards the federal authorities and threatens national unity,” the ministry said.
KRG forces took control of Kirkuk and other disputed areas after Iraqi army units in the region collapsed in the face of an onslaught by Sunni Muslim militants.