The land of the Bani-Mansour clan north-east of Basra is flat and parched, spattered with dry crusts of salt and thorny shrubs. Clusters of palm trees form small patches of green in the otherwise dusty yellow and brown landscape.
Nestled among them are about a dozen berms, each enclosing an oil well and its pump. Pipelines snake over the ground, cutting through villages as they connect wells and pumping stations. Oil rigs tower over the southern Iraq landscape, sending plumes of thick black smoke across the horizon.
The land sits above the West Qurna oilfield. One of the most lucrative in the world, it is owned by the Iraqi government and run by Exxon Mobil. After years of sanctions and neglect, oil production in southern Iraq is picking up. A two-lane road that crosses the Bani-Mansour land has become a busy highway for lorries carrying drilling equipment and buses ferrying foreign oil workers back and forth. The windows of nearby homes rattle as the traffic passes.