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Gazprom Neft in Halabja Block, Iraq

"We don't give water for oil"; scientists and environmentalists state that “scientific evidence shows work conducted by this company is lethal and damages the environment, air, water wells and springs - and such changes are irreversible”


Iraq is the country holding the world's second largest proven oil resources. The city of Halabja is the capital of the Halabja Governorate, located around 240 km north-east from Baghdad. It is located only around 13 to 16 km from the Iranian border and is part of Iraqi Kurdistan .

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Gazprom Neft in Halabja Block, Iraq
State or province:Halabja Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan
Location of conflict:Halabja
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Halabja block contains an estimated 90 million tons of oil resources. In 2013, the company signed a production sharing agreement (PSA) with the government, obtaining an 80% stake of the Halabja block project. The company was conducting geological surveys of the block followed by 2D seismic surveys covering 1,000 linear kilometers in 2014. Its plans were to begin drilling the block's first exploration between 2015 and 2016.

Project area:Approx. 100,000 hectares
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:50,000 to 100,000 people
Start of the conflict:01/10/2014
Company names or state enterprises:Gazprom Neft Shelf from Russian Federation
Relevant government actors:Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Youth Group of Bamo
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:Local protesters demanded all oil companies to leave the region and asked their Kurdish government to drop its initiatives for independent oil exports. Local farmers, professionals and environmentalists demand the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to focus on and develop economic sectors such as tourism and agriculture over oil.
They issued a statement justifying their protests and explaining that “scientific evidence shows work conducted by this company is lethal and damages the environment, air, water wells and springs - and such changes are irreversible”.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Protesters achieved some victories during their campaign, when working hours were reduced and health insurance was provided by the company. They continued to oppose the project and finally set a 20 October 2014 deadline for the company to leave the Halabja block.
The outcome of the protest after the set deadline is unclear. It seems like operations are set to continue, according to information provided by Gazprom Neft.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Global Policy Forum (2013), Oil in Iraq
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Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Protesters Force Gazprom Neft to Quit Halabja Block, by Osamah Golpy, RUDAW, 5 October 2014
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Gazprom Neft Begins Exploratory Drilling in Kurdistan, Press Release, Gazprom Neft, 1 August 2014
[click to view]

International Projects, Gazprom Neft
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Protesters halt Gazprom Neft in Halabja, by Mohammed Hussein and Patrick Osgood, Iraq Oil Report, 1 October 2014
[click to view]

Gazprom Neft expands KRG presence with Halabja block, by Ben Lando and Patrick Osgood, Iraq Oil Report, 20 February 2013
[click to view]

Other documents

Oil block in Iraq Source:
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Last update07/05/2015
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