- ISIS-held oil fields producing 40,000 barrels every day, bringing in £1million
- Highlights failure of West’s bombing campaign on refineries and pipelines
- Jihadis have adapted by creating hundreds of small facilities to refine oil
- Syrian rebel commander admits he is forced to buy diesel from ISIS areas
- He said: ‘It’s a situation that makes you laugh and cry. We have no choice’
The Islamic State is still making more than £320million a year from oil despite the U.S.-led bombing campaign that was meant to break up the insurgency.
Figures from oil workers in Syria and Iraq along with Western intelligence estimates suggest up to 40,000 barrels are being produced every day in ISIS-held territory.
This output – which generates around £1million a day in revenue – highlights a stark failure of the year-long coalition air strikes which have repeatedly targeted the group’s refineries and pipelines.
The situation has become so perverse that one Syrian rebel commander admitted he is forced to buy diesel from ISIS areas while fighting the terror group.
Black gold: Islamic State militants parade through the Iraqi city of Baiji, which holds the country’s largest oil refinery, in June last year. The terror group is still making more than £320million a year from oil despite the U.S.-led bombing campaign that was meant to break up the insurgency
He told the Financial Times: ‘It’s a situation that makes you laugh and cry.
‘But we have no other choice and we are a poor man’s revolution. Is anyone else offering to give us fuel?’
Officials in the U.S.-led coalition say the jihadis have adapted their operations by creating hundreds of small makeshift facilities to refine the oil.
Accidentally bombing these targets would risk creating a ‘family of jihadis’ and ‘radicalising the population’, the European official added.
One option now being considered involves an attempt to supplying cheaper oil to group’s fighting ISIS or flooding the northern Iraqi market with cheap crude to undercut the terrorists, the FT reports.
Earlier this year, a group of anti-ISIS activists based in the terror group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, revealed how ISIS had found ways to diversify their income streams.
Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RIBSS) claimed secret deals had been struck with the Assad regime to sell the government electricity and gas from dams controlled by the militants.
It also outlined ten ways the militants fund their crusade to create a Muslim caliphate.
Even though the citizens of Raqqa and Islamic State live under strict sharia law, ISIS leaders appear to have no qualms about growing and selling illegal drugs to others, with cannabis being grown on the outskirts of the city to be sold on to Turkey.
The report also reveals details of the of taxes and fines imposed on citizens of Raqqa, ISIS’s ‘de facto’ capital.
This includes flat-rate taxes on electricity, ‘hygiene services’ and use of the telephone network, paid in cash to ISIS’s very own revenue agency, called Al Hisba, as well as customs on imported and exported goods.
Another source of income is Internet cafes, which RBSS calls ‘one of the most profitable trades for ISIS’.
The number of internet cafes in Raqqa has increased from 20 to 500 since the Islamic State came to power, according to the group.
Yesterday, the Iraqi army and volunteer militia fighters made their latest attempt to retake the city of Baiji in northern Iraq which houses the country’s largest oil refinery.
Baiji is only 90 miles away from Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city which fell to the hardline Sunni militants in June last year.
An officer at the regional military command center revealed in July that crude oil storage tanks and pipelines at the refinery had been damaged beyond repair.
Natural gas tanks and processing facilities, as well as the power station providing electricity to the refinery, had also suffered damage.
It was not immediately clear whether the yesterday’s fighting had further damaged the refinery.
HOW DOES ISIS PROFIT FROM OIL?
Where is the oil extracted?
The Islamic State’s main source of oil comes from Syria’s eastern Deir Ezzor province which produces up to 40,000 barrels a day.
The Qayyara field near Mosul in Iraq produces about 8,000 barrels a day.
Who buys it?
Contrary to popular belief, ISIS doesn’t rely on exports, but instead profits from markets within its own caliphate and even in territory held by rebels in northern Syria, many of whom they are fighting.
How does the trade work?
Once they’ve picked up their cargo from the field, traders can take the oil to refineries under contract, unload it and return to the field.
Other options include selling the oil onto traders with smaller vehicles who drive it to rebel-held areas in Syria or Iraq, or trying local oil markets.
Most traders tend to prefer to sell it on immediately and can make around £7 profit per barrel this way.
How does the fuel enter the market?
Once the oil is refined, it is bought by traders and at this stage ISIS has very little to do the trade anymore.
The fuel is taken to markets where it is bought by locals.
Source: The Financial Times
Source : dailymail.co.uk