A state-run company of Kirkuk oil products calls for the release of five of its employees arrested by a checkpoint south of Kirkuk “for smuggling 180,000 liters of oil derivatives."
Five tankers of oil were stopped by energy police last week and detained up today.
“They have official letters stating these tankers are transporting oil to Baghdad and all relevant authorities are informed,” said Ghassan Wadi, media officer of Kirkuk Oil Products.
“The tankers and the drivers are for our office. They are governmental and licensed to transport oil so they have to be released immediately,” he added. “They were transporting oil products to al-Sadr power plant in Baghdad.”
Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister addressed a letter on April 14 to Baghdad military commanders in Kirkuk, Baghdad and Basra that up to mid-May, 55 tankers from Kirkuk stations will transport kerosene, gas oil and gas to Baghdad.
The five tankers were arrested on May 20, not covered according to the above letter.
Security forces deny to release the detainees interrogated for charges of smuggling oil.
A source in department of checkpoints in Kirkuk police told KirkukNow “those five people have loaded 180,000 oil products in five tankers in order to smuggle it out of Kirkuk.”
“We have arrested them in a perfect operation. They are currently under investigation and we want to know which party is behind this,” he added.
The northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, Iraq's second largest oil reserves, is ethnically a mixed province of 1.2 million Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen. It has long been at the center of disputes between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.
Since the withdrawal of Kurdish forces end of 2017 from Kirkuk, the federal government has controlled Kirkuk’s five oil fields: Havana, Bai Hassan, Khabaza, Jambor and Qubai Baba.
Kirkuk oil fields have produced 2.86 million barrels in April compared to three million barrels last March generating 177 million Dollars USD while in March it made up $195 million for Iraq's national revenues, Iraqi ministry of oil said.