Iraq plans to almost double the oil production capacity of the northern Kirkuk fields, to more than one million barrels per day, Oil Minister Jabbar Al Luaibi said.
Al Luaibi, commenting on the Iraqi military operation that captured Kirkuk from Kurdish forces earlier this week, said in a statement that all the fields of the province have been returned to government control.
Oil fields of Bay Hassan and Havana, along with associated pipelines and pumping stations are being assessed for to prevent any suspension of production and exports, he said, adding that Kurdish authorities blocking the Kirkuk oil export pipeline would face legal action.
Restoration of control by the federal government of all Kirkuk oil fields and associated energy assets will enable the Oil Ministry to begin investments for the development of the region’s oil industry to eventually increase production and export, Al Luaibi said.
The minister said the lack of political stability and resulting mismanagement of oil assets in the Kirkuk region has caused hurdles for international investment and setting up of a modern refinery as well as impeding the development of oil fields to enable increased production.
He said the ministry has plans to upgrade the oil industry in Kirkuk to achieve optimal output to serve the province’s energy needs and replenish federal coffers.