Iran closes oil wells in flood-hit Khuzestan province, output drops

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of flooding in Khuzestan province, Iran, April 5, 2019. Mehdi Pedramkhoo/Tasnim News Agency/via REUTERS/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has shut around a dozen oil wells in its oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province because of massive floods, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Wednesday, leading to a drop of up to 20,000 barrels per day in crude production.

Iran’s worst flooding in 70 years, which started on March 19, has killed at least 76 people, forced more than 220,000 into emergency shelters and caused an estimated $2.5 billion in damage to roads, bridges, homes and farmland.

“There are no oil leaks at the Hoor al-Azim wetland area. We have closed 10 to 12 oil wells there as a precautionary measure to prevent any environmental damages,” Mehr quoted Touraj Dehghani, the head of Iran’s Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC), as saying.

“The oil production of the field has dropped between 15,000 to 20,000 barrels per day.”

Iranian media on Friday reported oil output had been reduced in Khuzestan, home to the Azadegan and Yadavaran oilfields.

Iranian authorities have said the floods have not affected crude exports.

The United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six world powers. The sanctions have already halved Iranian oil exports.

U.S. President Donald Trump eventually aims to halt Iranian oil exports, choking off Tehran’s main source of revenue. Washington is pressuring Iran to curtail its nuclear program and stop backing militant groups across the Middle East.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Mark Potter