BP has signed a memorandum of intent with the Iraqi Oil Ministry to conduct a technical study ahead of a contract award for the further development of Iraq’ giant northern Kirkuk field , one of the earliest discoveries in the Middle East but now in steep decline. Production is now down to less than 300,000 b/d from over 700,000 b/d previously. BP’s commitment to the project, despite KRG objections, was reinforced after the company’s CEO, Bob Dudley, and Iraqi Oil Minister ‘Abd al Karim al-Laibi visited the area on 7 November to try to win over the local government before BP begins its survey.

A BP spokesman said Mr Dudley and Mr Laibi called on Mr Najm al-Din Karim, the governor of Kirkuk, and discussed BP working with the oil ministry and the North Oil Company (NOC) to prepare a plan to stabilize production and re-develop Kirkuk. This was followed by a visit to the Kirkuk field and a meeting with NOC Director General Samir al-Taie, who received a presentation from the joint BP/NOC team on their plans for the field over the next few months, including the installation of new equipment, he said. (CONTINUED - 563 WORDS)