Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaybi, said that Iraq has asked the British energy giant BP to help boost production at oilfields recaptured from the Kurds in the northern Kirkuk province.
Luaybi said that he suggested BP to study his proposal and is waiting for a reply.
BP is the biggest foreign player in the Iraqi oil sector. It runs the field in Rumaila in the southern part of the country, which produces 1.5 million bpd (barrels per day); about a third of Iraq’s output.
The Ministry of Oil and BP signed a consultancy deal in 2014 under which the energy giant would study and find ways of developing reserves in the Baba Gurgur and Havana fields. However, that year Baghdad lost the Kirkuk fields during a sweeping offensive by Daesh, and the deal was not executed.
Luaybi, who said that the deal was frozen because of Daesh, disclosed that in the aftermath of the federal government’s regaining control of the area, Baghdad signed a new memorandum with BP in January for the possibility of oil drilling in the province.
Baba Gurgur is Iraq’s oldest oilfield, it was discovered in 1927. It was recaptured from the Kurds by Central government forces in October along with Havana fields, Bai Hassan, Jambu and Khabbaz.
These five fields have an over-all output of about 470,000 bpd, nevertheless production and export have been relaxed as the main pipeline that links Kirkuk and the Ceyhan oil terminal in Turkey was damaged and requires repair.
The Minister said that a new 320-kilometer oil pipeline that is able to pump over one million barrels per day (bpd) from the fields of Kirkuk to Turkey may be done in as little as a year.
Luaybi added that Iraq will in the time-being export up to 60,000 barrels per day by road to refineries around Kermanshah in Iran, where oil firms face key challenges to transfer oil from wells in southern Iran.
He also said that talks with the Kurdish authorities were in progress with a view to pumping Kirkuk oil by a pipeline through the independent Kurdish region. He said that they hope to succeed, and that they have reached a sort of understanding so far.
There is a sixth Khurmala oilfield that remains under the control of the Kurds, but Luaybi insisted that it belongs to Iraq’s state owned North Oil Company.
He went on to say Khurmala belongs to NOC and was discovered over 30 years ago. He said that they started developing it in 1995 and the oil ministry has finished drilling 36 wells there.
He said that the Iraqi oil ministry had launched a $37 million program in 2004 to develop Khurmala.
After Saudi Arabia, Iraq is the second largest producer in OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.