The largest oil refinery in Iraq, located in the city of Baiji, an estimated 155 miles north of Baghdad, is under “75% control” by ISIL fighters.
The Baiji refinery went under siege last night and the complex was hit by mortar fire which started a few fires. The battle and subsequent siege lasted until early this morning when militants claimed most of the refinery.
An unnamed source told Reuters the militants had managed to break into the refinery and take control of over 75% of the complex including, “production units, administration building and four watchtowers.”
This refinery in particular is responsible for more than a quarter of Iraq’s oil production, nearly all of which goes towards foreign consumption and exportation.
TIME is reporting that since this refinery is responsible for so much of the country’s oil exports, there are risks of “long lines at gas pump and electricity shortages…” This could also spell higher gas prices at pumps around the world.
The town of Baiji was taken last week by ISIS militants, and the oil refinery sent all foreign nationals working in the complex to their respective countries while local workers stayed behind.
This is the latest of many business operations to be captured by ISIS militants, who have been using oil businesses, namely in Syria, to boost the organization’s profits.