Attacks on Iraq’s electrical grid are causing blackouts around the country and affecting oil production, forcing the country to import fuel even as militants freely siphon petroleum from state-owned pipelines.
U.S. officials are well aware that between $20 and $30 million of crude oil is stolen every day, but seem powerless to stop it.
Mikel Morris, a Houston oil engineer working in Baghdad for the State Department, says corruption in the Iraqi Oil Ministry is rampant, and the source of most attacks on reconstruction projects and reformist Iraqi oil officials.
Morris said that one pipeline company in Southern Iraq is controlled by Shiites, and according to CBS 11 in Texas, “refused to divulge its export contracts, records of sales, or even the names of buyers”
“Baghdad in dark as electric grid hit again”
United Press International, February 9, 2007
“CBS 11 investigates Iraqi crude oil theft”
CBS 11 (TX), February 8, 2007