65 illicit refineries still in operation in Erbil, out of total 124 in Kurdistan Region


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SULAIMANI – There are still 65 out of 124 illegal refineries in Erbil province and they are still in operation and smuggle oil.

NRT obtained information that the illicit refineries do not had any legal, environmental and health conditions.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Interior Ministry announced on Sunday (March 24) that it was forming a task force to shut down illegal oil refineries operating in the Kurdistan Region.

The Interior Ministry said in its ministerial order that it would form three special joint forces in the provinces of Erbil, Sulaimani, and Duhok to close the illegal refineries.

“Following on a decision issued on August 5, 2018 by the Council of Ministers presidency and the Kurdistan Region Oil and Gas Council, we will start implementing that decision according to the authority we have been given in accordance with the Interior Ministry’s Law Number 6 issued in 2009,” the statement said.

In Sulaimani, the joint task force will include 20 members of General Directorate of Defense and Emergency, 10 members of Sulaimani Asayish Directorate, 10 members of Directorate of Police for Oil and Gas Protection, five members of Sulaimani Police Directorate, and five members of Directorate of Environment and Forest Police.

The task forces for Erbil and Duhok will each also include 20 members of the Zeravani Peshmerga Command, along with similar levels of support from the other forces.

The ministry announced earlier this year that they were working to shut down all illegal refineries in the Region.

More than 200 illicit refineries are believed to be in operation in the Kurdistan Region, despite repeated efforts since 2008 to close them.

They contribute to pollution and leaks can harm agricultural land and water resources. Their products are also often trafficked by smugglers.

(NRT Digital Media)