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After Seizing Areas Of Kirkuk, Iraq Calls On BP To 'Quickly' Develop Disputed Oilfields

After Seizing Areas Of Kirkuk, Iraq Calls On BP To 'Quickly' Develop Disputed Oilfields
After central government forces loyal to Baghdad swept through the Kurdish led territory at the start of the week, an urge was sent to officials of BP by Iraqi officials to help the besieged country ravaged by a war and by years of ethnic violence develop oilfields in the disputed city of Kirkuk. The message was issued to BP on Wednesday.
Even as Kurdish forces retreated to nearby oilfields, on Monday, takeover of almost the entire disputed Kirkuk province was begun by Iraqi forces.
The country's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence in a referendum last month and the military maneuvers in northern Iraq come after that much debated referendum. But Iraq's central government ultimately had declared the vote to be illegitimate and thereby bearing no official significance.
Baghdad has requested the support of Britain's oil major to help achieve its aim of increasing its oil output and if media reports are to be believed, the country has plans for doubling the oil output form the region of Kirkuk to reach more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd).
As reported in an oil ministry statement Wednesday BP was asked "to quickly make plans to develop the Kirkuk oilfields" by the Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi.

Speaking Wednesday at the Oil and Money conference in London, BP CEO Bob Duley said: "We know Kirkuk well... and we were doing technical work there up until 2015. But I haven't read these comments or heard from him (Jabar al-Luaibi)."
He was unclear regarding the leadership in Kirkuk after peshmerga fighters had left the disputed province, Herman Wang, OPEC specialist at S&P Global Platts, said during a television interview on Wednesday.
"There seemed to be some sort of coordinated plan, now who was in charge of this coordinated plan is not that clear to me at this point," he said.
The oil cartel OPEC’s second largest oil producer is Iraq. While possessing much of the energy infrastructure of Iraq, the Kurdish-controlled areas of Iraq are among the most productive in the country in terms of oil production. There is approximately 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil remaining in the Kirkuk region, BP has estimated.
Geopolitical tensions in Iraq were supportive to oil prices Wednesday morning. Brent crude rose 0.7 percent to $58.29 a barrel while U.S. oil futures hovered near the $52 level in mid-morning trade

Christopher J. Mitchell

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