High-risk Iraq insurance for oil industry and security personnel
12 August 2014
The swiftness and brutality of the ISIS (IS) advance across northern Iraq has sent shock waves around the world. In June the terrorist organisation took control of Iraq’s second city Mosul and announced their creation of a ‘caliphate’ – an Islamic State (IS). Amidst the turmoil, many western security personnel and oil and gas experts continue to fly out to Iraq. How safe is it?
The political background
Though their ground offensive has slowed, the situation in those areas under IS control is desperate, particularly for those IS considers non-believers. Tens of thousands of Christian and Yazidis have fled the region to appalling conditions in Syrian refugee camps or the Sinjar Mountains. Humanitarian air drops began a few days ago and a US military offensive has now been launched.
Though Baghdad has not seen all-out fighting, IS insurgents within the city have claimed responsibility for bombings that have killed over a hundred people in the last week alone.
Meanwhile the political situation in the capital is uncertain. Announced today, the President has asked the former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Haider al-Abadi to form a new government. Cautiously welcomed by the US and other western powers, we have yet to see how this unfolds.
Oil and Gas industry largely unaffected
Yet, despite all the violence and uncertainty, Iraq’s oil industry has so far remained largely unaffected. While IS has captured control of the country’s largest hydroelectric dam and reservoir, it has yet to gain any significant oil facilities. 75% of Iraq’s oil wealth is found in the south of the country and current analysis is that an IS military assault in this Shi’a dominated region is unlikely at this stage. Oil production is continuing more or less as usual, though with a very much heightened level of security. Oil companies and local forces are operating on high alert and are drafting in extra security personnel.
Anyone considering working or travelling in Iraq should keep up to date with Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice and be aware that specialist insurance will be required. The security situation in Iraq could deteriorate suddenly, so cover should include provision for war and terrorism as well as comprehensive life, personal accident, medical and emergency evacuation insurance. Kidnap and ransom cover might also be advised since there is a high risk of this across Iraq.
If you need to upgrade your current Iraq insurance (whether you are in-country or yet to leave), or you need new cover for security contractors, oil and gas or infrastructure employees or media personnel, please call us. We’ll be happy to advise you on the best available cover.