Total Says Cut Staff In Iraqi Kurdistan


PARIS, Aug 14 (Reuters) - French oil major Total said on Thursday it had reduced its personnel working in the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq, although work on the two oil blocks it operates continued as scheduled.

A dramatic push by the Islamic State through northern Iraq to the border with the semi-autonomous Kurdish region alarmed Baghdad and drew the first U.S. air strikes on Iraq since the withdrawal of American troops in 2011.

"We are continuously monitoring the security situation in Kurdistan and we have adjusted the staff numbers," a spokeswoman for Total told Reuters.

"Work on our operated assets continues as scheduled," she said.

Last year, Total acquired an 80 percent stake and became operator of the Baranan exploration block, southeast of Sulaymaniy, in the Kurdistan region.

A seismic survey was completed earlier this year and the group was expected to drill its first exploration well at the end of this year.

The French major also operates the Safen block, northeast of Arbil. It also has minority stakes in the Harir and Taza blocks, where two oil discoveries were made in 2013.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by Gus Trompiz)


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