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Iraq signs deal with BP to boost oil output in Kirkuk
Last Updated: 2018-01-19 07:18 | Xinhua
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IRAQ-KIRKUK-BRITAIN-ENERGY-OIL-BP

Iraq's Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi (2nd R, front) and BP's President of Middle East Michael Townshend (3rd R, front) attend the signing ceremony in Kirkuk, Iraq, on Jan. 18, 2018. Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with British energy giant BP Thursday to develop the crude oil production in Iraq's northern Kirkuk oilfields. (Xinhua/Raizer Zangana)

Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with British energy giant BP Thursday to develop the crude oil production in Iraq's northern Kirkuk oilfields.

Iraq's Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi and BP's President of Middle East Michael Townshend attended the signing ceremony at the state-owned North Oil Company (NOC), which operates the oilfields of Kirkuk, said Iraqi Oil Ministry in a statement.

"The ministry is keen to develop oilfields in Kirkuk to open a new chapter for the NOC in improving its role as a national oil supplier," Luaibi was quoted as saying.

According to the deal, BP "will conduct (seismic) surveys and prepare the required studies to develop the oilfields, and will increase Kirkuk's oil output to 750,000 barrels per day (bpd)," said Townshend.

Iraq is working to develop the crude oil production of Kirkuk's oilfields after the Iraqi forces regained control of the ethnically-mixed Kirkuk province last October.

The oil-rich Kirkuk is part of the disputed areas outside the Kurdistan region, which are claimed by the Kurds and both Arabs and Turkomans. The Kurds want to incorporate the areas on the edge of their Kurdistan region, a move fiercely opposed by Baghdad central government and non-Kurdish residents.

The economy of Iraq is largely dependent on oil, as oil revenues account for nearly 95 percent of its state budget.

In 2010, Iraq announced its proven oil reserves had increased to 143.1 billion barrels from the previously estimated 115 billion barrels.

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