UPDATE: Armed political faction interrupts Kirkuk exports

The "Black Force" special police unit of the PUK party briefly took over Kirkuk's IT-1 facility - a sign of deteriorating intra-Kurdish political rivalries.
UPDATE: Armed political faction interrupts Kirkuk exports
Aso Almany, the head of the PUK office in Kirkuk and the leader of the "Black Force" special police unit, gives a press conference on March 2, 2017, accompanied by two other senior PUK figures, Assutah Rasool (right) and Sirwan Kokhiya Najim (left). (KAMARAN AL-NAJAR/Iraq Oil Report)

UPDATE:

  • New details about the motives behind the incident
  • Added perspectives from PUK, KDP, and industry officials
  • Black Force remains at IT-1 as of Thursday night
  • Corrected details concerning Bazian refinery ownership (see below)

Iraq’s northern oil exports were briefly disrupted Thursday when armed units associated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) political party took over a central oil facility in Kirkuk. The incident is further evidence of a deteriorating rivalry between the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) two main parties over how to share power, including over energy resources. At around 8:15 a.m., units from the so-called "Black Force," a Kirkuk-based special police unit operated by the PUK...

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