Coronavirus fear disrupts staff rotation at major Iraqi oilfields

Oil production and exports are stable in the short term, with potentially significant supply and demand disruptions if outbreak isn't contained.
Coronavirus fear disrupts staff rotation at major Iraqi oilfields
An Iraqi Health Ministry employee checks a passenger's temperature for the new coronavirus upon arrival at Basra airport. (ESSAM AL-SUDANI/Reuters)

When senior officials at many Chinese oil and services companies working in Iraq departed in January, it was a routine rotation timed with the Chinese New Year holiday – until the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus outbreak a global emergency.

Since then, Iraqi officials have blocked entry of any non-Iraqi that has been in China and made it more difficult for Chinese oil workers who remained in the country to access – or leave – work sites.

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