Dozens of U.S. Oil Workers Prepare to Leave Iraq After Soleimani Assassination

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Men work at the Rumaila oil refinery, near the Iraqi city of Basra. Iraq, 2009.
Men work at the Rumaila oil refinery, near the Iraqi city of Basra. Iraq, 2009. Credit: REUTERS

Dozens of U.S. citizens working for foreign oil companies in the southern Iraqi oil city of Basra were preparing to leave the country on Friday, Iraq's Oil Ministry said after a U.S. air strike killed a top Iranian commander in Iraq.

The U.S. embassy in Baghdad urged all citizens to depart from Iraq immediately, hours after the U.S. killed Iranian Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in an air strike.

>> Top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani killed in U.S. airstrike in Iraq  The four critical questions after the assassination of Iran's Soleimani | Analysis

Iraqi officials said the evacuation would not affect operations, production or exports.

An adviser to Iran's supreme leader is threatening U.S. troops in the Middle East and says “this is the time to clear the region from these insidious beasts.”

Company sources told Reuters earlier the workers were expected to fly out of the country.

Oil production from Iraq, the second biggest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, was about 4.62 million barrels per day (bpd), according to a Reuters survey of OPEC output.

A spokesman for BP, which operates the giant Rumaila oil field near Basra, declined to comment. Rumaila produced around 1.5 million bpd as recently as April.

Genel, an oil producer in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq, said its operations were continuing normally. It did not comment on any staff movements.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum, which also operates in Kurdistan, declined to comment. DNO did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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