Villagers in Garmiyan quit farming and work for oil companies

A number of villagers and firefighters extinguishing a fire – Photo by KirkukNow

Newly-discovered oil wells in the Garmiyan region have transformed the economic fabric of the region, and made many villagers dependent on the salaries from oil companies, instead of farming and selling dairy products.

Digging for oil in the Garmiyan region started in 2008. There are three oil wells in Sarqala subdistrict, north of Diyala province, and work is being done on digging another. But the COVID-19 outbreak has caused a temporary stall in work at the oil facilities.

every family has a member who works for the oil companies

Soran Garmiyani, the commissioner of the Hasira village, where the first oil well was dug, in Sarqala district, told KirkukNow: “Before oil was discovered in our village, people were farming and raising cattle. Now, every family has a member who works for the oil companies. There aren’t many people left who do farming.”


Kirkuk – Babagurgur oil facilities – Photo by Rebwar Dizhwar

73 families live at the Hasira village currently. Except for the families that don’t have younger members, each family has one or more members working for the oil companies.

Soran Garmiyani said: “Before, every family was raising sheep, but nowadays they just have some for their own needs. Their income is dependent on the oil companies.”

The Russian energy corporation Gazprom has a contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government to work the Garmiyan oil fields. Beside hiring local villagers, the company also provides some medical and sport equipment for some of the villages, at the request of the subdistrict’s administration.

Gazprom operates on four oil wells in Garmiyan regions and they are located near the villages Hasira, Milasura, Kawacharmu and Kareza.

discovering oil fields in the region has caused great damage to farming and agriculture there

Ramiyar Abdulrahman, chairman of Sarqala subdistrict’s administration, says that discovering oil fields in the region has caused great damage to farming and agriculture there, because villagers have quit farming and started working for the oil companies.

“The villagers should’ve been helped in farming and raising cattle instead of making them employees of oil companies.”

Gazprom is expected to ramp-up oil production in the Garmiyan region. According to experts, the oil from the region is of higher quality.

The oil wells in Garmiyan are not connected to any pipelines. Tankers are used to send the oil that Gazprom produces to Slemani.

Ramiyar Abdulrahman added: “Gazprom extracts 29,000 barrels of oil per day from the three oil fields that are located in our subdistrict.”

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