As the conflict in Kurdistan rages on, Oil Search joins the growing list of upstream companies suspending operations in the northern Iraq region.
Oil Search, an exploration and development company based in Papua New Guinea, said Thursday that operations at its Taza 2 well site have been suspended because the conflict has “interrupted the company’s ability to deploy skilled technicians, equipment and materials.”
The company consulted with Kurdistan’s Ministry for Natural Resources before making the decision.
Oil Search said the temporary suspension will remain in place until the long term integrity of its supply chain can be safely re-established and secured.
However, the company said the security situation in the Taza area remains stable.
Its other operations in the region, including rigging up at the Taza 3 appraisal well site and its 3D seismic acquisition program, will continue uninterrupted.
Oil Search said its closely monitoring the security situation and has put precautionary measures in place to safely suspend operations and remove personnel from the area if necessary.
The company has not released reserve estimates for the Taza 2 well.
The Taza block covers 197 square miles (511 square kilometer).
Oil Search is the operator of the licenses and owns a 60 percent stake and a 75 percent funding interest.
France’s Total E&P Kurdistan Region of Iraq owns a 20 percent stake and the Kurdistan Regional Government owns a 20 percent stake.
Oil Search is the largest oil producer in Papua New Guinea.
Oil Search joins Chevron, Exxon, Hess and other companies in suspending operations in Kurdistan until the conflict between the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, and Kurdish troops subsides.
Islamic State began pushing into Kurdistan in July. US forces have mounted a strategic air and humanitarian aid campaign against the fundamentalist group to aid Kurdish Peshmerga troops.
Earlier this week, President Obama called Islamic State a “cancer” and Secretary of State John Kerry said the militants must “be crushed.”
Muslim leaders across the globe have denounced Islamic State.