ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The oil field of Ain Zalah in northern Iraq stopped functioning two years ago following the emergence of jihadists in the region. It now requires $5 million in reconstruction costs to restart oil production, said the director of the oil field on Sunday.
Ain Zalah oil field consists of 29 oil wells, located to the west of the Mosul Dam in northern Iraq. The wells were founded in 1952 by the British government colonizing Iraq at the time. The field is 17 kilometers long and three kilometers wide.
On June 2014, the Islamic State (IS) took control of large swaths of territory in Iraq. On August 2, IS controlled Ain Zalah oil field, but on Sep. 2, 2014, Peshmerga forces cleared the area from the insurgents.
During the occupation, IS largely damaged the oil field and exploded parts of the field system. Since then, Ain Zalah has remained closed and no longer produces oil.
“IS controlled the field for a month, but they didn’t sell even one barrel of it. They destroyed it, and the oil production has halted since then,” the director of Ain Zalah oil field Bashir Mohamad Gargari told Kurdistan24.
“It requires nearly five million dollars to reconstruct the field and restart the extraction,” Gargari said.
Additionally, Bewar Khnsy, an economy and oil expert, explained to Kurdistan24 that the field has faced large damage. “The entire system of the oil field needs to be changed to restart oil production. The cost will be very high,” he informed.
When the fields were opened, 120,000 oil barrels were produced per day, but the amount decreased year after year until it reached 10,000 oil barrels per day before the emergence of IS in the country.
Reporting by Masoud Mohamad and Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Ava Homa and Karzan Sulaivany