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Kuwait Energy Open to More Iraq Investment

FILE - Kuwait Energy CEO Sara Akbar expresses confidence in Iraq's oil industry.
FILE - Kuwait Energy CEO Sara Akbar expresses confidence in Iraq's oil industry.

The head of Kuwait Energy says she’s encouraged by recent gains in Iraq against the militant Islamic State group and would welcome more investment there.

Sara Akbar, Kuwait Energy’s CEO, told Reuters during an oil conference in Norway that “I think we've been through the worst and things will stabilize.”

Several oil companies in Iraq's Kurdistan region withdrew staff earlier this month after Islamic State fighters approached Irbil, the region's capital, threatening its vast oil infrastructure.

Kurdish forces, assisted by U.S. airstrikes, have pushed back Islamic State fighters in recent weeks – but some firms have not returned to the country.

Akbar’s firm, operating in southern Iraq, has been largely unaffected. "Most of the developments in Iraq are on plan, especially in the south, where most of the international oil companies are still working, with field developments and exports going normal," she said.

Akbar said she was not deterred by the violence, arguing that it was temporary and could not overshadow the country's vast potential for relatively easy oil.

When asked if she would invest more, she said: “If we could get into more projects, yes, I'd love to.”

Oil producer DNO, which operates the Tawke field near the Turkish border, recently said some of its contractors had left the country. DNO said it would have to rely on local suppliers for future work, potentially slowing developments.

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    Reuters is a news agency founded in 1851 and owned by the Thomson Reuters Corporation based in Toronto, Canada. One of the world's largest wire services, it provides financial news as well as international coverage in over 16 languages to more than 1000 newspapers and 750 broadcasters around the globe.