(Reuters) – Shell has temporarily evacuated foreign staff, numbering around 60, from Iraq’s Basra Gas Company for security reasons and flew them out of the country but production was not disrupted, officials and company executives said on Thursday.
The staff were evacuated on Wednesday after laid off workers staged a protest in the headquarters of Basra Gas Company, a venture between state-owned South Gas Company, Shell and Mitsubishi, officials said.
The protest was also close to a Shell company compound.
Operations at the gas project were not affected by the evacuation and work was continuing normally, overseen by Iraqi engineers, Iraqi officials said.
“Shell’s evacuation is a precautionary and temporary measure and its foreign staff will provide advice and perform their duties remotely for now,” a senior Basra Gas Company official said.
Iraqi security officials providing security at the Basra Gas Company said Wednesday’s protest was limited and did not pose a threat, adding that the situation was secured.
Most energy companies in Iraq’s south laid off workers to cut costs after oil prices crashed amid the coronavirus crisis.