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Islamic State Advertising Position For Oil Fields Manager, With £140k Salary

01/11/2014 15:38 GMT | Updated 01/11/2014 15:59 GMT
MARWAN IBRAHIM via Getty Images
Oil tankers transport petrol sold by IS (Islamic State) to Kurdish business men on July 12, 2014, in Iraq's disputed northern city of Kirkuk. Iraq's Kurdish region claimed disputed northern oilfields in another blow to efforts to forge a united front against a jihadist-led onslaught, as twin bombings killed 28 people. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN IBRAHIM (Photo credit should read MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images)

Daniel Day Lewis' Oscar-winning turn in There Will Be Blood was as an oilman who would do just about anything for a good profit from the black gold. But even he might flinch at one particular job prospect.

One lucrative oilfield is seeking a new manager, the problem is that its current occupiers are the radical jihadists of Islamic State.

The Islamists have, according to the Times, let it be known that they required an experienced and zealous manager for their seized oilfields in Iraq, once highly profitable but now suffering from a slew of fatal accidents and no worthwhile customers willing to risk the shame of dealing with the group.

It seems the old tactic of killing the families of skilled employees in order to ensure their continued company loyalty has not been working out too well.

The Times spoke to oil industry contact in Iraq who said the salary for such a post was $225,000, or £140,000, a year, to manage oil fields that could make up to £1.5m a day - but have nosedived in recent months.

“They are trying to recruit skilled professionals who are ideologically suitable,” Robin Mills from Dubai consultancy Manaar Energy told the Times.

“The money is good but it’s not that good. A western oil exec posted to Iraq right now, let alone working for Isis, would expect to earn a lot more than that.”

Officials at Iraq’s North Oil Company, which has lost one field to Isis and another to the Kurds, told the paper: “With each round of fighting, more staff drift away. Initially they [Isis] coerced staff, threatening to kill their families. Now they’re offering the carrot instead.”

Oil is the biggest money-maker for the terror group, though no state is willing, at least publicly, to purchase from the groups.

"It is difficult to get precise revenue estimates ... but we estimate that beginning in mid-June, ISIL has earned approximately $1 million a day (£625,000) from oil sales," David Cohen, the Treasury Department official who leads efforts to undermine Islamic State's finances, said last week.

The Treasury said IS is selling oil at substantially discounted prices to a variety of middlemen, including some from Turkey, who then transport the oil to be resold. "It also appears that some of the oil emanating from territory where ISIL operates has been sold to Kurds in Iraq, and then resold into Turkey," he said.

Cohen said the Syrian government also has allegedly arranged to buy oil from IS.

He noted that US-led airstrikes on the group's oil refineries are threatening the militants' supply networks, and that Turkey and the Kurdistan regional government — the official ruling body of the predominantly Kurdish region of northern Iraq — are working to prevent IS oil from crossing their borders.

IS moves oil in illicit networks outside the formal economy, making it harder to track, Cohen said.

"But at some point, that oil is acquired by someone who operates in the legitimate economy and who makes use of the financial system. He has a bank account. His business may be financed, his trucks may be insured, his facilities may be licensed," he said.

"We not only can cut them off from the US financial system and freeze their assets, but we can also make it very difficult for them to find a bank anywhere that will touch their money or process their transactions."