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Iraq, BP Sign Deal to Develop Kirkuk Oil Fields

Iraq, BP Sign Deal to Develop Kirkuk Oil Fields

Friday, 19 January, 2018 - 08:30
An Iraqi oil employee checks pipelines at the Bai Hassan oil field, west of the multi-ethnic northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Photographer: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Iraq signed an agreement with BP on Thursday to increase production capacity from the northern Kirkuk oilfields, which were regained from the Kurds in October by Iraqi government forces, AFP reported.

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi and BP chief Michael Townsend signed the contract at the North Oil Company's headquarters in the district of Kirkuk, according to AFP correspondents.

The Iraqi Oil Ministry said in a statement that the agreement aims to “increase production to up to 750 thousand barrels per day.”

Kirkuk province now has a production capacity of 420,000 barrels a day (bpd), according to Baghdad, but only 120,000 barrels a day are being pumped and exports from the region are at a halt.

Luaibi had called in October on the giant BP to support his country to develop Kirkuk oil fields, according to the agency.

AFP noted that the Iraqi oil ministry signed a consultancy contract with BP in 2013 to help the state-owned North Oil Company to develop the Havana and Baba Gurgur fields in Kirkuk province.

The contract, however, was never implemented as Baghdad lost control of the fields to Kurdish forces the following year.

Iraq reported its oil exports hit 109.6 million barrels a day in December, the same month that the government announced victory over ISIS.

On a different note, the Iraqi minister said he was set to visit Turkey in the near future to discuss resuming oil exports through Turkey.

“I will soon visit Turkey to resume exporting oil to the Ceyhan port,” the minister said according to AFP.

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