Baghdad, Republic of Babylonia – Following efforts by the former Iraqi government to sabotage the lucrative oil industries in large parts of the country, the governments of Kurdistan and Assyria have been hard at work restoring the damage. Much of this has been possible due to extensive funding by Hellenic Oil & Gas A.E., which counts the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Industry (35%), the House of Argead (29%), and the government of Greece (15%) as major shareholders, which has been granted contracts to extract and refine the oil in return. Assuming responsibility for pre-existing contracts, Hellenic Oil & Gas expects oil from Babylonian and Kurdistani oil fields to become a massive source of revenue for the Athenian Federation.
While oil has long been the lifeblood of many countries in the Middle East, sectarian violence and international boycots have drastically affected the profitability of oil extraction and refining. When war was declared by the Athenian Federation and the Iraqi military engaged in scorched earth tactics production of oil came to a complete standstill. It has taken several months but with the help of engineering expertise from across the Federation and nearly unlimited funding from Hellenic Oil & Gas A.E. fields in Kurdistan are all back at full production while all fields in Babylonia that do not need to transport oil through Assyria are also operating at full capacity again. The Iraq Strategic Pipeline which transported oil from Babylonian Oil Fields to the Kingdom of Syria passes for a majority of its length through Assyrian territory. As part of his conflict with Babylonia and Kurdistan over the borders, President Abbas of Assyria has implemented a tax on all oil and gas passing through Assyrian territory. In response Kurdistan and Babylonia have closed all pipelines going through Assyria. While Kurdistan already had the capacity to handle all transport through alternative pipelines, Babylonia was still dependent on the Iraq Strategic Pipeline for some of its largest oil fields. The Babylonian government has already started construction on a new pipeline.
It is expected that a significant portion of oil from Kurdistan and Babylonia will remain in the Athenian Federation, providing vital resources to major industries such as the Military, Aerospace, Space, and Logistics, as the Federation was previously dependent on importing oil despite its already extensive oil reserves in other regions such as Syria and Greece. Most of the oil however will be exported to other countries through terminals in Basra, Kuwait City in the Imperial Territory of Kuwait, and the Imperial City of Byzantion. Revenue from these exports is expected to be a massive boon to the Imperial coffers due to the Ministry’s shares held, it will be an even greater source of revenue to the people of Babylonia and Kurdistan who have long seen oil revenue go everywhere but to their benefit. The People’s Republic of Kurdistan has already announced the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund to provide ongoing funding of education, healthcare, and the Kurdistan Pension Fund, while the Republic of Babylonia has stated that the government will direct revenue from oil extraction to education, healthcare, social services, and planned infrastructure projects throughout Babylonia.
Disgruntlement over the fact that revenue from oil will no longer go to funding their region, many Assyrians have voiced their opposition to the new arrangement and have begun protesting at major pumping stations along the Iraq Strategic Pipeline. More disturbingly according to reports protesters have also taken to firebombing Shiite Mosques and major meeting areas of Shia Assyrians and Kurds in Assyria. In response the governments of Babylonia and Kurdistan have declared that any violence against any ethnic or religious group is against Athenian law and have reminded the Assyrian and Imperial governments of their obligation to protect all citizens. For its own part the Magistrate of Internal and Regional Affairs Andrea Dragic has stated that any violence by protesters is unacceptable and that Hellenic forces inside Assyria have been ordered to place protective details at Shiite Mosques as well as Mosques with a Kurdish majority, and places where large groups of Shia and Kurds meet. She has also stated that the Imperial Government understands Assyrian dissatisfaction with the new arrangement and that her Ministry is working with Hellenic Oil & Gas on a scheme that will redirect a portion of oil revenues back to the Republic of Assyria as well as subsidies by the Imperial Government to restore pre-war funding of the Assyrian economy. Despite requests by Kurdistan, the Magistrate did not go as far as to request the Empress to declare a state of emergency in Assyria and usurp police powers. She also confirmed that the handover of powers to local police will continue as planned in all three Republics.