Despite being recently defeated from their major strongholds of Mosul and Tel Afar in Iraq, more than two years after Iraqi forces specifically sought to retake oil-rich areas from ISIS terro group, its militants are continuing to steal, spill and smuggle crude oil from Iraqi oil fields, Fox News reported on Tuesday.
“While ISIS is steadily losing its hold on populated areas, it still controls a not-insignificant portion of territory that contains oil and oil infrastructure,” Justin Dargin, a global energy expert at the University of Oxford said.
“As a result, ISIS is continuing at a frantic pace to produce and smuggle as much oil as possible in a bid to acquire its ever-declining revenue base.”
ISIS still controls scores of wellheads in parts of the northern Ajil field which are considered contested land between Iraq and Kurdish governments. The terror network still controls some 75 percent of the Alas Dome in the nearby and prominent Hamrin field, NOC adds.
ISIS gained control of the two fields in June 2014 after its sudden assault on the country’s second-largest city of Mosul.
While Iraqi forces took back much of the region in early 2015, the militants have retained a foothold in the more remote parts, such as the provinces of Salahuddin and Diyala.
The black-clad terror group can access these areas from its last major Iraq stronghold of Hawija near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
It is in these areas that the terrorists are reported to have orchestrated a massive oil spill spanning thousands of acres southbound from the Hamrin Mountains and into the emancipated territory, where it is even flooding into the streets of villages just northeast of Tikrit, according to Iraq Oil Report and satellite imagery of the area.
But beyond its severe environmental impact, ISIS is still making money from the trade. The group continues to exploit local, financially desperate workers to continue the production and delivery of oil, and relies heavily on the professional technicians and engineers previously working in the areas to maintain and administer wells and production.
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