Oil Explorers Reduce Kurdish Operations as ISIS Nears

Chevron Corp. and Afren Plc withdrew some staff from their operations in the Kurdish region of Iraq after Islamic militants rampaged across the country’s north.

“We have reviewed the business critical expatriate positions and as a consequence made a reduction in the total numbers of expatriates in the region,” Chevron said today in an e-mailed statement. “We are closely monitoring the situation.”

The militant Islamic State group today seized the Mosul dam and Makhmur, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the Kurdish capital of Erbil after snatching territory and executing civilians across northern Iraq. Kurdistan Regional Government Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir appealed today to the international community for weapons and ammunition.

Afren has withdrawn some “non-essential staff” to Erbil as a precaution, according to an e-mailed response to questions from Bell Pottinger, representing the London-based explorer.

Shares of oil companies operating in the Kurdish region fell, with Afren closing down 1.4 percent in London, Genel Energy Plc dropping 10 percent, Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd. sinking 11 percent and DNO ASA down 9.4 percent in Oslo.

Chevron was little changed at 1:15 p.m. in New York.

Genel reiterated that its operations in the region remain “safe and secure,” according to an e-mailed statement. “There has been no change to our operations,” the company said.

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