BAGHDAD (Sputnik) – Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Luaibi and the London-based multinational energy company BP have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at expanding oil production in the oil fields of the country’s northern Kirkuk province, an Iraqi oil industry source told Sputnik on Thursday.
“Oil Minister Jabbar Luaibi signed the agreement with BP in the office the state-run North Oil Company,” the source said.
The statement was made in December, after the Iraqi Oil Ministry announced it was inviting companies to submit bids within one month to take part in the construction of a new branch of an oil pipeline from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
According to Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) data, released in late December, the country had increased its daily oil exports by 4.5 percent in November. The information further indicated a recovery of crude oil exports from the country after the recent conflict in Iraqi Kurdistan. Specifically, Iraq signed an agreement with Iran on exports of Iraqi oil from Kirkuk’s oil fields in the amount of 30,000-60,000 barrels per day.
The data followed an October statement, made by the Iraqi Oil Ministry, saying that the ministry and BP agreed to establish an expert group to assess the situation happening around the fields in Kirkuk, halted after the Iraqi military carried out an operation in the area in response to the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan on September 25.
The oil fields are located in an area disputed between Erbil and Baghdad. After the Iraqi military operation in the region, leading to clashes between the two sides, Baghdad regained control over the city of Kirkuk, the capital of the province.