Britain offers to protect Iraqi oil supplies

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 30 -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, following talks in London with his Iraqi counterpart Nuri al-Maliki, said the UK wants to help protect Iraqi oil supplies even after its combat role in the Middle Eastern country comes to an end.

"We hope to sign an agreement with the Iraqi government about the future role that we can play in training and in protecting the oil supplies of Iraq," said Brown, adding that the agreement would be "between our two governments rather than any new United Nations resolution."

British troops are withdrawing from Iraq 6 years after joining the US-led invasion. By the end of July there will be 400 British troops remaining in the country, there only to provide specialist training to Iraqi forces.

Brown's statement came after talks with the Iraqi prime minister, in London with senior Iraqi officials and international business leaders to attend a conference exploring possible investment in his country.

Ahead of the conference, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told Iraq's Al-Sharqiya TV channel that his country will need $50 billion of investment over the coming 5 years to repair and upgrade the oil industry.

The investment funds would allow Iraq to increase its oil output to 6 million b/d from its current production levels of 2.4 million b/d, while also repairing and modernizing existing production facilities and infrastructure.

Brown's statement came as British and US military forces handed the Iraqi navy full responsibility for protecting the Khor al-Amaya oil export platform, which along with the al-Basra terminal, handles the bulk of Iraq's oil exports.

Until the turnover, the two terminals have been protected by US and British forces who, along with personnel from Australia and Singapore, also have worked to prepare Iraqi naval recruits for the assignment.

Adm. Tom Cropper, commander of Task Force Iraqi Maritime, called the turnover a "breakthrough" in Iraqi military independence, noting that the Iraqi naval personnel understand the importance of protecting the terminals which produce most of the country's domestic product.

"We are ready to protect this terminal [and] later we'll take over the other," said Iraqi navy operations commander, Commodore Ahmed Jassim Marij, who added, "Protecting our oil terminals from the threat of terrorism is vital."

More than 80% of Iraq's revenue comes from the sale of oil channeled through two platforms in the Persian Gulf, and defense of those resources is critical to Iraqi national security, according to British Royal Navy Capt. Nick Hine, who directs the Coalition Naval Advisor and Training Team.

The two oil platforms inside Iraq's territorial waters "currently provide, depending on who you talk to, between…80% and 90% of Iraq's revenue. As you know, the Iraqi economy is largely oil-based," Hine said. A third offshore platform is planned for completion in 2010, he said.

"I suspect that over time the majority of Iraq's oil will continue to be provided via maritime means," Hine said.

Still, as Brown implied, the Iraqi navy is not fully prepared to take over all operations, a point underscored by Royal Navy Capt. Richard Ingram, head of the coalition naval advisory team in the Port of Umm Qasr.

Ingram said the progress of Iraqi naval personnel has been "pretty dramatic" but that there is "still a lot" for them to achieve.

US Navy Capt. Karl van Deusen, head of operations for the coalition task force, said building the Iraqi navy is a long-term goal. "We're doing a phased approach. We don't want to just cut the cord and walk away. We're still here."

Contact Eric Watkins at

Related Articles

Nelson vows to block Murkowski’s stand-alone crude oil bill

07/31/2015 The US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved Chair Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alas.) bill to end the ban on exporting US-produced oil. Bu...

Industry 2Q earnings, jobs dissolve amid continued oil-price slump

07/31/2015 A difficult year thus far for the integrated, multinational oil and gas firms caused by low oil prices has been somewhat eased by improved producti...

OGUK survey shows ‘slight improvement’ in outlook in second quarter


The UK oil and gas industry remains fragile, but the outlook has improved in the second quarter, according to Oil & Gas UK.

Phillips, ETP, Sunoco JV to build, operate Bayou Bridge oil pipeline

07/31/2015 Phillips 66, Houston; Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP), Dallas; and Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, Philadelphia, have formed a joint venture to con...

MARKET WATCH: Oil futures fall on strengthening dollar

07/31/2015 Light, sweet crude oil prices started July 30 trading with a gain on the New York market, but prices had slipped moderately by settlement, which an...

MOL acquires Czech, Slovak retail assets


MOL Group, Budapest, completed its acquisition from Eni SPA of retail outlets in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

FRA issues final rule to keep unattended trains from rolling away

07/31/2015 The Federal Railroad Administration issued a final rule to prevent unattended trains carrying crude oil, ethanol, or other highly flammable content...

Joint venture advances plan for grassroots refinery in North Dakota

07/30/2015 Quantum Energy Inc., Tempe, Ariz., and a joint-venture partner Native Son Holdings LLC (NSH), The Woodlands, Tex., have filed a minor-source air qu...

Shell to shed Japanese refining assets

07/30/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has entered a deal to sell nearly all of its interest in Japanese refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu KK to Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. as...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected