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Iraq Replaces Southern Oil Chiefs in Major Shake-up | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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BASRA, Iraq, (Reuters) – The Iraqi government has replaced some of the top officials in state-owned oil companies in southern Iraq, tightening its grip on an industry that fuels the economy but has been outside of its direct control.

The shake-up, which has largely escaped public notice, affects industries in the southern oil hub of Basra, where 30,000 government troops were deployed in March to clamp down on Shi’ite militias and criminal gangs that dominated the city.

The Baghdad government has removed the heads of the South Oil Company, which is in charge of exports, the South Gas Company and the Iraqi Oil Tankers Company since mid-May, local officials and the Oil Ministry told Reuters.

Analysts warned the move could trigger fresh violence in the unstable but strategic area, home to Iraq’s main oil reserves.