Iraq’s oil minister Jabbar Al Luaibi met with a BP regional executive to discuss ramping up crude oil production by 700,000 barrels per day from Kirkuk fields, which it took control of last week from Kurdistan’s forces.
Al Luaibi spoke with BP’s Middle East chief executive Michael Townsend about reactivating a previous deal on the development of the oil fields in the Kirkuk province, according to a ministry statement.
Iraq hopes to finalise the agreement that would see BP map out a plan to increase Kirkuk production by 700,000 barrels per day, Al Luaibi said.
Kirkuk is one of the biggest and oldest oilfields in the Middle East, still estimated to contain around 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to BP.
BP has provided technical assistance in the past to the Iraqi state-owned North Oil Company to aid the redevelopment of the Kirkuk field, responsible for half of Kurdistan’s oil production or 300,000 barrels per day.
Townsend said the company is ready to cooperate with the ministry. It has decided to set up a joint working group to assess and study the oil fields in Kirkuk province.
Iraq’s central government in Bagdad was angered after Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region held a referendum for independence in September.