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Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luiebi has asked BP to develop the oil fields in oil-rich Kirkuk, just a day after Iraq’s government forces completed an operation to seize control of all oil fields that Iraqi state-held North Oil Company operates in Kirkuk.
Al-Luiebi has asked the UK supermajor '‘to quickly make plans to develop the Kirkuk oilfields,” Reuters quoted a statement by Iraq’s Oil Ministry as saying on Wednesday.
The ministry said in a separate statement that it would now proceed with development plans for the Kirkuk oil fields, and said it wanted to raise their production to more than 1 million bpd in “cooperation with one of the international companies.”
Al-Luiebi “sent a request today for BP to quickly come in to begin studies and restart measures to develop the oil fields in Kirkuk province,” an oil ministry spokesman told the Financial Times on Wednesday.
On the sidelines of the ongoing Oil & Money conference in London, BP’s chief executive of Upstream, Bernard Looney, told the FT:
“We’ve seen the reports overnight but we haven’t received any letter as of yet. When we do we’ll obviously sit down with the minister and talk to him but it’s too early to comment any further.”
BP’s presence in Iraq actually began in Kirkuk in the 1920s when the company that is now known as BP helped Iraq to locate, produce, and export oil from Baba Gurgur. In 2009, BP returned to Iraq to become the first international oil company to return to the country after 35 years. BP, PetroChina, and Basra Oil Company (BOC) are developing the Rumaila oil field, which BP says is the third-largest producing field in the world, estimated to have around 17 billion barrels of recoverable oil remaining.
BP has also provided technical assistance to Iraqi state-held North Oil Company to help it with the redevelopment of the Kirkuk field. Kirkuk is estimated to hold some 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil remaining, according to BP.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.