The company said on Monday that it would pull them out of the Kurdistan Region, located in Iraq’s north, a “precautionary measure” amid escalating tensions and bellicose rhetoric in the wake of Gen. Qassam Soleimani’s death last week, according to CNN. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was killed to prevent a war and had received intelligence he was plotting attacks on Americans.
“The safety of our people and facilities is Chevron’s top priority globally,” a Chevron spokeswoman told CNN.
Chevron, which doesn’t have any workers in other parts of Iraq, added that its employees and contractors have left “for the time being.” Local workers are overseeing the ongoing operations in Kurdistan, it said, according to the report.
The move comes after the Iraqi oil ministry said last week that “a limited number of employees with U.S. citizenship” would depart the country’s south in the meantime. It added that “that the conditions are normal in oil fields throughout Iraq and production and export operations have not been affected.”
Other foreign workers weren’t departing the Iraqi oil fields and were operating at normal levels, the ministry’s statement added.
Last week, the United States urged its citizens to immediately depart Iraq due to the rise in tensions. The United States on Monday also warned its citizens in Israel and the Palestinian territories to be vigilant, citing the risk of rocket fire. As a U.S. ally against Iran, Israel is concerned about possible rocket attacks from Gaza, ruled by Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamists, or major Iran proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Exxon also said that it was “closely monitoring the situation” and added it “has programs and measures in place to provide security to protect its people, operations and facilities,” CNN reported.
BP and Shell, other top oil producers, have not commented on their operations in the region.
According to the report, Exxon has a presence in Kurdistan, Baghdad, and is a contractor on the West Qurna oilfield in southern Iraq. BP, meanwhile, has operations inside the Rumaila oilfield in southern Iraq
In the wake of Soleimani’s death, President Donald Trump has listed 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites, that could be hit if Iran retaliates with attacks on Americans or U.S. assets.
The comment came after top Iranian officials called for attacks on U.S. targets, including the White House.
Reuters contributed to this report.