Kirkuk oil guards suffer payment delays as security risks grow

One of Iraq's most effective ways of securing oil infrastructure has been to enlist locals as guards, but now cash flows are drying up just as an insurgency intensifies.
Kirkuk oil guards suffer payment delays as security risks grow
The Jabal Bor production and gas oil separation stations of Kirkuk's Baba Dome on March 10, 2016. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report)

KIRKUK - Iraq's state-run North Oil Company (NOC) has fallen two months behind in paying hundreds of local residents contracted to guard oil wells in the Kirkuk area, potentially compounding the threats posed by an intensifying insurgency.

Such payments have historically provided an incentive for locals to cooperate with state security forces and resist insurgents who might otherwise, through bribery or coercion, turn them into collaborators. The payment delays are one symptom of Iraq's financial crisis, which has already caused major disruptions in other aspects of the country's oil sector.

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