(Adds details, background)
LONDON Aug 11 U.S. oil producer Hess Corp
has suspended oil-drilling operations in Iraqi Kurdistan
and started to evacuate non-essential staff amid spreading
violence in the region, its minority partner Petroceltic
"It has been decided, as a precautionary measure, to
temporarily secure and suspend operations, including the
drilling of Shireen-1 exploration well in the Dinarta licence,"
Petroceltic said in a statement.
Hess operates Iraqi Kurdistan's Dinarta and Shakrok fields,
in which Petroceltic owns a 16 percent stake and the Kurdistan
regional government has a 20 percent share.
The partners started drilling a first well, Shireen-1, on
the Dinarta block in June and had expected exploration work to
last five months.
They plugged and abandoned the Shakrok-1 well earlier this
year after disappointing exploration results.
The decision to suspend operations follows announcements on
evacuations and interruptions of production from other oil
companies active in the region, including Afren and
Taqa, as violence spreads with the advance of Islamic
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Keiron Henderson and