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Kirkuk oil smuggling rings thrive amidst corruption

Security forces have disrupted several operations stealing thousands of barrels of oil per day, but perpetrators with powerful connections defy justice and the smuggling continues.
Tankers in Kirkuk drive past a sign reading "Integrity Commission: Kirkuk Office of Investigations" in December 2012. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report)

KIRKUK/SULAIMANIYA - Authorities in the Iraqi government and the autonomous Kurdistan region are struggling to address the worsening problem of endemic smuggling from Kirkuk oil fields, where thousands of barrels are stolen every day.

At least two sets of operations have been uncovered in and around Kirkuk in recent months. One elaborate plot targeted a pipeline through Erbil province, and another series of schemes has involved stealing oil from eastern Kirkuk fields and trucking it into Sulaimaniya.

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