Iraq and BP sign deal to boost Kirkuk crude output: Ministry
KIRKUK/ BAGHDAD - Reuters
Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding with BP on Jan. 18 to boost production capacity at its northern Kirkuk oilfields, the country’s oil ministry said in a statement.
The oilfields were taken back under Baghdad’s control last October after Iraqi government forces dislodged Kurdish fighters from the area.
Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi and BP’s president for the Middle East region, Michael Townshend, attended the signing ceremony at the Kirkuk office of the Iraqi state-run North Oil Company, which operates the fields, the ministry said. The agreement provides for BP to boost Kirkuk’s output capacity to 750,000 barrels per day (bpd), more than twice existing capacity, the statement added, citing Townshend.
“The company will carry out seismic survey operations and and studies to develop the fields,” the ministry statement quoted the BP executive as saying.
Luaibi initiated the talks with BP in October, only days after the Kurdish fighters were driven from the area.
Oil exports from the field, transported by pipeline to Turkey, halted after the Iraqi military operation, which was conducted in retaliation against an independence referendum held on Sept. 25 by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Iraq plans to start trucking crude from Kirkuk to Iran at the end of the month.