Iraq energy sector expats flee oil boomtown as Islamic State terrorists approach

Published:  14 Aug at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA
Erbil, the Iraq oil boomtown and capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, is now the focus of an exodus of expats fleeing the terrorist army of Islamic State.

Once home to a thriving expat community within a friendly, welcoming environment, Erbil is emptying fast as the Islamic Army draws ever closer. Around 80 per cent of the hundreds of expat oil workers, construction engineers and security personnel have already left, and most oof the reminder are preparing to follow.

The formerly violence-free autonomous region hold several of the planet’s largest, as yet untapped oilfields, and the Islamic State army is locked in battle with the Kurdish army just 50 miles away. Erbil’s oil boom has brought an international airport, modern housing and office blocks to one of the most ancient cities in the world, and it was expected to expand even further in the future.

Drilling has now stopped, with major companies such as Chevron rushing to evacuate expat staff, and top executives are saying that, should the oil revenues dry up, the entire region will suffer. Former workers state that Kurdistan’s future in the 21st century depends on oil, are are fearful for the region’s future.

One expat worker, originally from the USA and now evacuated, told reporters that growing prosperity in the region over the past five years had brought a better life and more security to its indigenous Kurdish peoples. The ancient city was a stranger to the violence in the rest of Iraq, he added, but now it seems that violence in a far worse form is approaching..
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