03 August 2015, News Wires – A top official in Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company (NOC) has been shot dead along with his driver as he went to work on Monday, according to reports.
Saad Ali Hussain was gunned down in his car by assailants in a sports utility vehicle in the restive northern city of Kirkuk, the second top NOC official to be killed in a matter of weeks.
Hussain was a chief engineering at NOC, with Reuters reporting he supervised the company’s oil pipelines office.
He had only just succeeded Saad al-Karbalaie, the former chief of operations who was gunned down as he left the NOC office in Kirkuk on 28 June. On that occasion gunmen forced his vehicle to stop before killing him.
An unidentified NOC official told Reuters: “Someone is using bloody ways to change the structure of the company. It’s like playing with fire and could result in dire consequences for the company’s operations.”
A pipeline linking oilfields in Kirkuk with the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan was blown up in recent days, shutting off flows through Iraqi Kurdistan, through which the pipeline runs.
Both the Baghdad and Erbil administrations are fighting Islamic State militants, with oil infrastructure a constant target for attacks.