(Adds quote from chief engineer)
TIKRIT, Iraq, June 17 Iraq's biggest oil
refinery, Baiji, has been shut down and its foreign staff
evacuated, refinery officials said on Tuesday, adding that local
staff remain in place and the military is still in control of
Militants from al Qaeda splinter group Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant (ISIL) seized Iraq's second-biggest city of Mosul
last week and other Sunni armed groups have advanced into the
town of Baiji and surrounded its refinery.
The refinery shut down overnight, the sources said.
Baiji is one of three oil refineries in Iraq and only
processes oil from the north. The other two are located in
Baghdad and the south and are firmly under government control
"Due to the recent attacks of militants by mortars, the
refinery administration decided to evacuate foreign workers for
their safety and also to completely shut down production units
to avoid extensive damage that could result," a chief engineer
at the refinery said on condition of anonymity.
He said that there is sufficient gas oil, gasoline and
kerosene to supply more than a month of domestic demand.
(Reporting by Ghazwan Hassan in Tikrit and Ahmed Rasheed in
Baghdad; Writing by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Jason Neely)