Iraq is committing 27,000 security personnel to protecting its oil and energy industry from the advance of Islamic State (also known as ISIS).
The Telegraph reports that Iraq’s oil minister Adel Abdel Mahdi outlined plans for the new oil army at the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) meeting in Vienna over the weekend.
Iraq is now the second largest oil producing nation in Opec after Saudi Arabia and there are fears that ISIS, which operates in parts of Iraq, Syria and Iran, could disrupt supply through terrorist attacks.
The terrorist state could also look to annex more oil resources to help fund its campaigns. It already controls several oil assets in northern Iraq and industry officials estimate ISIS could be making at least $US1 million a day from oil exports.
Armed forced have been trying to take back key oil fields and refineries from ISIS in Iraq in recent weeks. Iranian and US forces have been working together to try and retake the Beiji refinery in Iraq, the Guardian reports.
Abdel Mahdi said the final structure of the new oil security forces will be finalised over the next few weeks.