China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), one of the leading oil companies in the world, has no plans to pull staff from its oil projects in Iraq despite rising tensions in the region, a source close to the company told the Global Times on Wednesday.
"CNPC hasn't evacuated staffs from its other oil projects such as Rumaila oilfield, Halfaya oilfield, and Ahdeb oilfield, even though these projects have strict standards on Health, safety, security, and environment (HSSE) and are vigilant on triggering the evacuation plans," said the source, who asked to be anonymous.
On January 3, Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq. Iran early on Wednesday launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq in retaliation, leading to fears of a wider conflict.
The source disclosed that given the rising tensions between the US and Iran, it had pulled "most of" its Chinese employees from the West Qurna-1 oil field, as it is operated by US major ExxonMobil. "Chinese employees only account for a few of the total staff in the project."
ExxonMobil has already pulled all of its US and international employees from the project, the source said.
"There is no need to read too much into the evacuation of one single company in the region," Chen Zhanming, a deputy professor of the School of Applied Economics at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Moreover, the adjustment of one project in the country will also not affect China's oil supply, Chen said.
China's state-run CNOOC, which produces at the Maysan oilfield in southeast Iraq, also said it has no immediate evacuation plan as it has already put in place a "very high" level of security measures due to long-term security concerns, according to a Reuters report that cited a CNOOC official.