BP returns to Iraq with promise to double output from major oilfield

BP will return to the oilfields of Northern Iraq after signing an agreement with the Baghdad government which outlined an ambition plan to double crude flows from its ‘super-giant’ oilfield.

The oil major withdrew from the war-torn Middle Eastern nation in 2015 but the agreement signals a fresh degree of confidence in the region after government forces recaptured an area containing the Kirkuk oil fields.

Under the deal, signed by BP’s Middle East boss Michael Townshend and Iraqi oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi, the British multinational firm will look to restore the region’s crude production to between 700,000 and 750,000 barrels of oil a day.

The letter of intent underscores BP’s intention to carry out seismic survey operations and studies to help overhaul the field’s operations, along with further long-term redevelopment plans.

According to a BP spokesperson, the deal is an extension of an agreement first signed in 2013 which was derailed after Kurdish forces seized control of the Kirkuk field.

Kirkuk is one of the biggest and oldest oilfields in the Middle East and is still estimated to contain around 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil.