Russia’s Lukoil is studying a major development at Iraq’s key northern Kirkuk field, a source tells MEES. Production at Kirkuk, the workhorse of northern Iraq production, has slipped worryingly in recent years. From a 2007-08 high of 400,000 b/d, it fell to 300,000 b/d by May 2011, and now is thought to have dipped below 250,000 b/d.

The falls alerted state-owned NOC of the necessity to bring in outside expertise. Service firms Schlumberger and Baker Hughes were contacted in mid-2011 and exploratory talks with BP began in the beginning of 2012. It is not clear what the scope of the Lukoil discussions cover, but earlier talks involved a project designed to first halt declines and then boost Kirkuk capacity to 600,000-700,000 b/d. (CONTINUED - 336 WORDS)